Why do you not like Vancian magic?

I hate the restrictions it puts on my ability to run an "organic" game.  The power of Vancian magic (and daily powers in general) is inversely proportional to the amount of action you see on a given day.  That means the power level is wildly swingy, and further, it is exceedingly likely for the power to average at the higher end, as realistically, it is unlikely to get into lots and lots of fights.
I think there are a number of drawbacks to using the Vancian system, and honestly I don't see any benefit to the system or any reason to continue using it other than that's how its always been done.  I get that some folks would prefer it over say a spell point system, but I don't see why you can't have any caster using any system, simply by swapping out spell rules.

Personally, I think the main reason I don't like it, is that the system relies on the rest of the party and the DM to be used effectively.  I used the system for years without this problem, and I like to think I was pretty good about selecting my spells.  However more recently I've joined a different group, and often I can't convince the party to either gather intel in advance, or get useful information out of the DM, so I am forced to prepare spells blindly, which inherently forces me to pick spells which are most likely to be useful, i.e. combat spells.

The 5 minute work day is always a concern, but for the most part I haven't had that problem in my groups, and we typically do a good job of pacing on our own.  Other problems I've seen come up, are the amount of time players spend selecting their spells after a nights rest which stalls the game, or missing a key spell that requires the wizard to go rest in order to memorize it.  Also preparing spells in advance is daunting for new players, and at low levels where spells are few, the selection process is critical to success.

More recently, we've used a homegrown spell point system, and although it makes casters more flexible (giving them an edge), it solved the other issues, and worked better for the group.
More recently, we've used a homegrown spell point system, and although it makes casters more flexible (giving them an edge), it solved the other issues, and worked better for the group.



Beside flexibility, a point system doesn't fix the "5 minute workday" which is very interesting. A lot of complaints I read are people saying the Wizard (Vancain) uses all his big spells 1st combat then forces the party to rest. The point system leads to more of that play-style than Vancian does. If I don't have spell levels to reserve and can uses 3 points to cast a 3rd level spell than having to cast 3 1st level spells, the blow you load play-style is more likley with a point buy system than a true Vancian system.

Back during 1e I hated the flavor of it, utterly independent on its game play effects (which have been beaten to death on here).  "Knowledge is power" but in effect the mu has a cookbook and no true knowledge AND amnesia on top of it. Spell slots were further pretty much unexplained a convenient and meta-game limit that was not as natural feeling  as just about any other ideas I could cook up and even now I am pretty good at reflavoring and I still find slots take convoluted unsatisfying back flips that amount to "its just magic"  

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

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

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

 


Back during 1e I hated the flavor of it, utterly independent on its game play effects (which have been beaten to death on here).  "Knowledge is power" but in effect the mu has a cookbook and no true knowledge AND amnesia on top of it. Spell slots were further pretty much unexplained a convenient and meta-game limit that was not as natural feeling  as just about any other ideas I could cook up and even now I am pretty good at reflavoring and I still find slots take convoluted unsatisfying back flips that amount to "its just magic" 



I get this. I do think that it's more of a flavor they where trying to give the class, classic merlin magic. I like the fact that spell casters have different mechanics and there has to be a way to limit a spell casters power otherwise there is no reason why everyone wouldnt be spell casters. 

When I read your post it seems to me you don't like the feel/flavor of the mechanic because it wasn't well explained but there doesn't to be anything about why you don't like the mechanic of the system. 
Power-level aside, I dislike how it portrays spellcasters as foolish based on out-of-game decisions: the wizard is supposed to be really smart, and the cleric is supposed to be very intuitive, but their ability to have the right spells on hand is based on the player.

Having the wrong spell at hand is supposed to be the cost for the incredible power of those spells.  In practice, though, if someone knows the right spell for the job but doesn't have it prepared, then whenever practical the party will call it a day to let them prepare that spell.  It just slows down the entire session.

The metagame is not the game.

Is it the "5 minute work-day" thought process problem?



Among others, yes.

Also it leads to unbalanced play, if not severely  nerfed, because the argument "the wizard can only be effective X amount per day" will always be present (no matter that the argument fails when you consider that fighters can only be effective as long as clerics or other healers can heal them, and thus cannot run infinitely on and on).



During the current play test its likely the fighter won't get through 2-3 encounters before calling for a 5mwd rest...
"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.
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Is it the "5 minute work-day" thought process problem?



Among others, yes.

Also it leads to unbalanced play, if not severely  nerfed, because the argument "the wizard can only be effective X amount per day" will always be present (no matter that the argument fails when you consider that fighters can only be effective as long as clerics or other healers can heal them, and thus cannot run infinitely on and on).

How is the point system of the sorcerer any better than the wizards? It seems to be worse, the sorcerer can spend through their daily allotment a lot faster since they are not forced to cast lower level spells.
Power-level aside, I dislike how it portrays spellcasters as foolish based on out-of-game decisions: the wizard is supposed to be really smart, and the cleric is supposed to be very intuitive, but their ability to have the right spells on hand is based on the player.

Having the wrong spell at hand is supposed to be the cost for the incredible power of those spells.  In practice, though, if someone knows the right spell for the job but doesn't have it prepared, then whenever practical the party will call it a day to let them prepare that spell.  It just slows down the entire session.


This is the best explaination I have read in awhile. I agree with this. I personally like the different casting mechanics, I don't want all spell casters to use the same mechanic. I do agree that the Vancian system would be much better if it worked the exact way it does limiting the level of spells. ie. 3 1st, 2 2nd, etc but you don't have the memorization factor you can cast any spell at that level that is in your sepll book.
How is the point system of the sorcerer any better than the wizards? It seems to be worse, the sorcerer can spend through their daily allotment a lot faster since they are not forced to cast lower level spells.



Are you by any chance misquoting? I never said sorcerer spell points are better.

I'm firmly of the opinion, though, that the 4E system was better. In all aspects.


No not mis-quoting just asking a question. A lot of people who hate Vancian spell casting, like the point system better. I don't see it as a better system and as far as the "5 minute workday" that people like to mention the point buy system is worse than Vancian casting
A spell point system generally also will limit rate of expenditure not just total expenditures. 

Additionally even without any spell points or slots a casting rate system can limit frequency of impact and total over all impact is limited. Since casters have rounds where they take up tons of time (multitarget and complex effects).. having a prep round with a small amount going on seem acceptable (just like the rogue using stealth skill you spend around using arcana skill).

Personally I would prefer points used for only more powerful spells and those to be the same ones used by everyone else... ie hit points. 

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

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

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

 

A spell point system generally also will limit rate of expenditure not just total expenditures. 

Additionally even without any spell points or slots a casting rate system can limit frequency of impact and total over all impact is limited. Since casters have rounds where they take up tons of time (multitarget and complex effects).. having a prep round with a small amount going on seem acceptable (just like the rogue using stealth skill you spend around using arcana skill).

Personally I would prefer points used for only more powerful spells and those to be the same ones used by everyone else... ie hit points. 

I do like the spell system FATE Dresden Files uses, you can cast lower spells and relatively no cost, but to pump up the spell it costs you metal damage (hit points for DnD)



A spell point system generally also will limit rate of expenditure not just total expenditures. 

Additionally even without any spell points or slots a casting rate system can limit frequency of impact and total over all impact is limited. Since casters have rounds where they take up tons of time (multitarget and complex effects).. having a prep round with a small amount going on seem acceptable (just like the rogue using stealth skill you spend around using arcana skill).

Personally I would prefer points used for only more powerful spells and those to be the same ones used by everyone else... ie hit points. 

I do like the spell system FATE Dresden Files uses, you can cast lower spells and relatively no cost, but to pump up the spell it costs you metal damage (hit points for DnD)






Fate has some pretty sweet elements, although I havent read/played the Dresden Files version. 

I am thinking another flavorful limit for spell casting is what I call repercussions... I cast a sleep spell and doing so exposes me to the sandman... I am sluggish/slowed in the round following. I cast a hand of death.. .and am stunned in the round  that follows.  It might be as simple as me being psychically weakened in that raound after the casting only able to use lower level spells..



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

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

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

 

For me it's a couple things.

First: the constantly growing complexity. With every level you have even more spells to prepare. and it makes preparation take way too long.I really don't want to wait 15 minutes while the wizard chooses 25 different prepared spells.

Second: Lack of specialization. I really don't like the "do everything" wizard. Most wizards in fantasy do a small variety of stunts. You may have a fire mage, or the witch who turns people into toads or a master of illusion. I like the idea of having a necromancer that stays a necromancer and having more distinctive magic styles. While magic can do a lot of stuff, I don't feel like any individual caster should be able to do it all or be able to vastly change their theme after a night's rest.

My favorite magical class design of all time was the 3E PHB2 beguiler. He was versatile enough to do a bunch fo cool stuff, but at the same time, he couldn't do everything. He clearly had an illusion/charm specialty and he was fun to play.

Full Disclosure: I've been playing D&D since '84.  Wizards have long been my favorite class.  My all-time favorite character was a 2E Wizard.  I'm currently playing a wizard in a 3.5 game.  I tried a wizard in early 4E and hated it.

And I HATE Vancian casting.

REASON #1: Vancian casting means your world is locked into the Vancian D&D fluff.  If you envision a world were casters channel mystic energies or weave flows, use the strength of their will and imagination, or tap into the power of their souls to cast spells, you are out of luck.  Sorry.  Your world uses D&D magic.  The same as every other D&D campaign.  Vancian casting is a giant GENERIC D&D MAGIC stamp.  Blech.

REASON #2: Balancing all-powerful abilities by limiting uses per day is fundamentally flawed.  It leads to the 5MWD, encounters that are either hard or trivial depending on spell resources, and gives makes it solely a game of "protect the caster until he can push the WIN button!".  This has been examined in-depth on these boards and others.

REASON #3: Vancian Casting Progression has always been a disaster.  Too-weak at low-levels, too-potent at high.  This isn't the fault of the Vancian concept, but if they can't get it right in 40 years, I doubt they ever will.

REASON #4: Spell bloat.  Not to be confused with the Bloat spell--which I'm sure is in a splatbook somewhere.  Again, not the fault of the Vancian concept, but an all too common side effect.

REASON #5: What does a wizard do when he's not Vancying?  Not much.  Primarily a wizard problem since designers are utterly incapable of giving a wizard anything to do beyond casting spells.

Other than Reason #1, these are primarily implementation problems.  1E and 2E were balanced a little better.  3E and 3.5 systematically trashed most of the limiting factors of Vancian casting (losing spells to enemy attacks, unbalanced math, bonus spells, spell feats, faster memorization times, ubiquitous scrolls and wands of utility spells, etc.).  If a Vancian system was properly implemented, I'd still find it unsuitable as a DM for fluff reasons.

To properly implement a Vancian system I would probably go with a more linear progression.  Casters might have a handful of spells per day, based on level.  Higher level casters can cast higher level spells or lower-level spells more effectively.  Casters might be able to get a spell or two back (or learn a new one) with a short rest.  Casters might also be able to memorize at-wills of various spell levels in lieu of a strict Vancian spell:  A low-level mage would have a magic missile at-will.  Higher level might have a small AoE burst attack.  Add in utility at-wills as well.  Limit the ease of casting powerful spells (like teleport, polymorph, etc.) to keep them rare and impressive.

Full-Dislosure Addendum: I love wizards because "magic is cool" not because I'm in love with the Vancian subsystem.  I also love wizards because they (along with their other casters) are often the only ones that can play the problem-solving subgame given their massive list of problem-solving spells (bonus points for creative use!).  I found the 4E wizard lacking because I couldn't find a way to build the wizard concept I wanted with the early materials and felt more like an implement juggler than a wizard.  My interest in wizardry has waned of late--I find myself drawn more to the simplicity of the fighter-type.  I'd have played one in our 3.5 campaign, but creating playable one with that ruleset is way beyond my Build Fu.
Full Disclosure: I've been playing D&D since '84.  Wizards have long been my favorite class.  My all-time favorite character was a 2E Wizard.  I'm currently playing a wizard in a 3.5 game.  I tried a wizard in early 4E and hated it.

And I HATE Vancian casting.

REASON #1: Vancian casting means your world is locked into the Vancian D&D fluff.  If you envision a world were casters channel mystic energies or weave flows, use the strength of their will and imagination, or tap into the power of their souls to cast spells, you are out of luck.  Sorry.  Your world uses D&D magic.  The same as every other D&D campaign.  Vancian casting is a giant GENERIC D&D MAGIC stamp.  Blech.

REASON #2: Balancing all-powerful abilities by limiting uses per day is fundamentally flawed.  It leads to the 5MWD, encounters that are either hard or trivial depending on spell resources, and gives makes it solely a game of "protect the caster until he can push the WIN button!".  This has been examined in-depth on these boards and others.

REASON #3: Vancian Casting Progression has always been a disaster.  Too-weak at low-levels, too-potent at high.  This isn't the fault of the Vancian concept, but if they can't get it right in 40 years, I doubt they ever will.

REASON #4: Spell bloat.  Not to be confused with the Bloat spell--which I'm sure is in a splatbook somewhere.  Again, not the fault of the Vancian concept, but an all too common side effect.

REASON #5: What does a wizard do when he's not Vancying?  Not much.  Primarily a wizard problem since designers are utterly incapable of giving a wizard anything to do beyond casting spells.

Other than Reason #1, these are primarily implementation problems.  1E and 2E were balanced a little better.  3E and 3.5 systematically trashed most of the limiting factors of Vancian casting (losing spells to enemy attacks, unbalanced math, bonus spells, spell feats, faster memorization times, ubiquitous scrolls and wands of utility spells, etc.).  If a Vancian system was properly implemented, I'd still find it unsuitable as a DM for fluff reasons.

To properly implement a Vancian system I would probably go with a more linear progression.  Casters might have a handful of spells per day, based on level.  Higher level casters can cast higher level spells or lower-level spells more effectively.  Casters might be able to get a spell or two back (or learn a new one) with a short rest.  Casters might also be able to memorize at-wills of various spell levels in lieu of a strict Vancian spell:  A low-level mage would have a magic missile at-will.  Higher level might have a small AoE burst attack.  Add in utility at-wills as well.  Limit the ease of casting powerful spells (like teleport, polymorph, etc.) to keep them rare and impressive.

Full-Dislosure Addendum: I love wizards because "magic is cool" not because I'm in love with the Vancian subsystem.  I also love wizards because they (along with their other casters) are often the only ones that can play the problem-solving subgame given their massive list of problem-solving spells (bonus points for creative use!).  I found the 4E wizard lacking because I couldn't find a way to build the wizard concept I wanted with the early materials and felt more like an implement juggler than a wizard.  My interest in wizardry has waned of late--I find myself drawn more to the simplicity of the fighter-type.  I'd have played one in our 3.5 campaign, but creating playable one with that ruleset is way beyond my Build Fu.




Very reasonable post. The developers must limit the ease and raise the difficulty levels of casting the powerful spells, but they shouldn't outright ban the spells from the system or nerf their power to the point of uselessness. The most powerful spells should be limited to the highest level casters and they should also be very difficult to actually cast.
There are SO many posts about "I hate vancian casting", etc

So my question is why? Is it the "5 minute work-day" thought process?

Is it the requirement to have to plan for the spells you might need?

Or is it something else? 



Here we go

1) BROKEN In the past it's been broken and I really doubt they are going to get it right in this edition. The Idea is that because your using a daily resource it should be powerfull to balance that out.  But around somewhere between 7-11th level In 3.5 at least depending on your average adventuring day you pretty much have more slots than you'll ever need. Each of those spells having a huge impact every combat because they are balanced around being a limited resource. This of course is considering you don't get the fireball spam wizard.

2) DAMAGE IS A TRAP When you have options that simply take people out of the encounter or simply end the encounter Flashy spells AKA damage spells are a trap there is hardly ever a reason to ever spend a slot on a spell that just does damage that's what those commoners with the swords are for.

3) UTILITY spells that break the world after a while the world just ceases to make sense Invisibility flight teleportation and most divination precognation style abilities cause serious harm to a pseudo mideval setting that hasn't adjusted. Every castle has to have dimensional anchor every major organization has to have some way of preventing scrying everyone guarding something important needs true seeing. It's hard to understand how common thieves haven't been suplanted by spellcasters since they are so much better at that job.

4) PACING to attempt to ballance a daily system you have to have X encounters a day and I don't want anymore of that nonsense thank you.

All in all I will be happy with D&D next if it lets me take all daily abilities out of the game. I don't care if you call it vanican mana spell points whatever. I just don't like daily mechanics. I wouldn't mind a SP system  that refreshes on encounter or a Vanican sttyle system where you could change out spells between encounters as long as the system is balanced for short burst play. If I have one fight today and 12 tomorrow I want everyone on board full force for both.
There are SO many posts about "I hate vancian casting", etc

So my question is why? Is it the "5 minute work-day" thought process?

Is it the requirement to have to plan for the spells you might need?

Or is it something else? 

My personal belief is that some of it stems from the hope that if a big enough stink is raised, Vancian magic will be dropped or at least equal consideration will be given to non-Vancian methods.

I like Vancian myself and hope for its return in DDN.  What I can agree on though, is that it is far from a perfect system.  

Why I don't hate Vancian magic
I just prefer the *feel*.  I don't believe it's a hopeless cause (as some seem to believe).  I believe Vancian can be designed so that it plays nice with others.  For whatever that's worth.  I'm a hobbyist, not a game designer ;).  I hid this last part intentially.  It opposes the topic. Thread dumping isn't cool.
/\ Art
1. Nothing makes me feel less like a spellcaster than 'running out of spells'.
2. It doesn't make sense to me.  If you know a spell, you KNOW it.  Forgetting it makes no sense.
3. 'I'm out of spells, so either we all have to stop and rest on my account, or I'm a half-assed crossbowman for the rest of the day'.
4. 'I can do game breaking things, but only so many times per day' isn't balanced at all.  How many times a day do you actually NEED to break the game?
5. 'Hang on, guys, I need to pore over my list of spells to decide what I'm going to do tomorrow ... should only be another half an hour or so.'
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Here is something else the flavor of vancian casting says its difficult but in real life the more difficult something is the more likely you are to fail at it... and well Vancian feels uber reliable.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

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

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

 

For me it's a couple things.

First: the constantly growing complexity. With every level you have even more spells to prepare. and it makes preparation take way too long.I really don't want to wait 15 minutes while the wizard chooses 25 different prepared spells.

Second: Lack of specialization. I really don't like the "do everything" wizard. Most wizards in fantasy do a small variety of stunts. You may have a fire mage, or the witch who turns people into toads or a master of illusion. I like the idea of having a necromancer that stays a necromancer and having more distinctive magic styles. While magic can do a lot of stuff, I don't feel like any individual caster should be able to do it all or be able to vastly change their theme after a night's rest.  



Yes I think of that as vancian I can do everything, does a piss poor job at representing classic fantasy magic.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

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

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

 

Here is something else the flavor of vancian casting says its difficult but in real life the more difficult something is the more likely you are to fail at it... and well Vancian feels uber reliable.



Yeah, the flavor of vancian magic seems off. Either a task should be difficult: unreliable  or difficult: straining. But vancian is neither of those. Casting spells doesn't fatigue you and it pretty much always works.


I'm with others who dislike the flavor in general.  Never seen a 


   From an actual game design perspective, the system itself is just plain clunky.

  You have spells arranged- not according to character level- but on a totally different scale that starts at zero and ends at nine- as opposed some even number (like ten) or some iconic/meaningful number (like three, five, or even seven). 

   A lot of the spells are repetitive.  What is the real difference between shocking grasp, burning hands, and cone of cold?  Why are the other two maxed out at 5d6 while Cone of Cold is 15d6?  Why do we need Cat's Grace, Fox's Cunning, Owl's Wisdom, which are all exactly the same in every single way except for which stat they give a +4 bonus to?

      The spells themselves are distributed unevenly. There are almost twice as many transmutation spells in the 3E spell list as there are conjuration spells. If you want to focus on conjuration, you have to wait longer/have fewer options than transmutation focused characters.

  In a more general sense, I hate the "fire and forget" nature of spells.  They take little/no effort to cast and can last for very long durations.  I should not be able to- in a matter of seconds and a literal flick of a wrist- be able to create permenant undead.  Maybe animate them for a few minutes or as long as I concentrate, but not permenantly. That should be some kind of ritual at least.
Success with 'fire-and-forget' spells means either metagaming or appearing to metagame.
Honestly, a 1E-3E caster who hasn't read the adventure ahead of time is just gimping himself, badly.  The only thing worse than a five-minute workday is the zero-minute workday, when everyone has to run away because the wizard has the wrong spells ready and nobody has a silver (or some other gimmick) weapon.
Beyond other reasons that other posters are hashing out:

I don't care for the "flavor" of it - more specifically, that it is so completely alien to the depiction of "magic" in... well, just about anything.  It's not that it isn't how magic works somewhere - it's that it essentially isn't how magic works anywhere (outside a very select number of very particular pieces of fiction).

I don't mind it existing as a way arcane magic works, but I do mind it existing as the only way that arcane (or any type of) magic works.
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)
The problem I have seen with non-vancian systems is that you loose a lot of flexibility in exchange.  You either have to really lower the power of the spells, or you have to limit the caster to a very small number of options, or both.  That is great but it is not a D&D wizard.  I would love to see alternate wizard classes, and we have a start with the Warlock and the Sorcerer.  The Warlock feels like the summoner, diabolist, dark wizard from many types of fantasy.  The sorcerer feels like a innate spellcaster, with magic in the blood so to say.  

Since late in 2e I have always used a different flavor for Wizards.  Wizards do not memorize spells, they prepare and partially cast them.  That is how they can cast them so quickly in battle, the spells are already almost complete.  In fact I often had the wizard show physical manifestations of their prepared spells, glowing glyphs moving across their eyes, wisps of eldritch energy seeping from their skin, etc.  With 5e this is even better since we have ritual spells.  I am going to rule that any spell can be cast as a ritual, taking x number of minutes, but how often is a ritual version of fireball going to be useful?   
but how often is a ritual version of fireball going to be useful?   

siegecraft

Yes, and that could be pretty cool.  A group of 5th level mages launching fireball after fireball over the course of a day.  But with the limited range of 50ft the wizards are within range of enemy spellcasters and archers so, if I am a wizard I am not volenteering for that duty Tongue Out
There are a few things I don't like about the system.

I don't like running out of all magic. even the cleric is able to channel holy power and turn undead at any time.

I also have never liked how they never took a look at high level play in any way. I always felt high level play was so mythic that they never realy took a look at the magic they put in at those levels and how over the top the spells were.

I don't mind preparing spells or not always knowing what I will face so much. The compleetly out of spells side of it was the biggest. I also never expected the party to stop every time I ran out of spells so I usually took darts and had the thief poison them for me.

I like the mix next has with cantrips and spells, but I still do worry about high level spells and how over the top they can be. 

4th was ok with the quantity of spells and the at will spells keeping magic always available, but I just didn't care for the at will, encounter, daily system. It felt like every class was too similar via the mechanics. While there were style and power and quantity of choice differances, it seemed like every class played too similar. Now I have found that 4th had some great things that I do like and even the things I did not care for had some good points, the system as a whole just didn't appeal to me that much. I respect that people love the system and its inovations, and I can't fault them for that, it just didn't fit me well. 
DMG pg 263 "No matter what a rule's source, a rule serves you, not the other way around."
I hate the restrictions it puts on my ability to run an "organic" game.  The power of Vancian magic (and daily powers in general) is inversely proportional to the amount of action you see on a given day.  That means the power level is wildly swingy, and further, it is exceedingly likely for the power to average at the higher end, as realistically, it is unlikely to get into lots and lots of fights.

This. I hate daily powers and want them to burn. Encounter or at will is the way to go. It's kind of hard to have a 'signature spell/move' when I can only cast it once per day. I know in 4E I avoided as many of the daily powers as possible, since you either didn't want to use them because you might need it later or every character blows them in one encounter because someone has to take an extended rest. Not really fun in my book.

Even is Vancian didn't have daily powers, I also dislike the flavor.
Why did I just forget a spell? Head injury?
Why can I learn a new one after a good nap? More hits to the head?
WHy can I remember one spell better than the others (taking the same spell more than once). Yeah, I feel like a smart boy now!
Why do I have a hand full of bat crap in my hand (IE material components are lame). Fine for rituals and witches but not for a 'book learning' caster.
Why do I need to carry around a library? Sure, make the character with the lowest strength carry the heavy tomes. LOL

The hate for daily powers is your opinion.  I like daily powers, and vancian magic in general.  That is my opionion.

As of 3e I believe they got rid of memorization.  You do not forget your prepared spells, you use them up.  Your body and mind can only contain so much spell power per day (per long rest).  Is the fluff really the huge issue.  Just change the fluff.  You are preparing the spells - partially casting them so they can be ready at a moments notice.  You need a long rest to recover the ability to prepare spells again.  Spell components have always been optional, or at least in most groups I have been in.  I would only enforce spell components for rituals or for very special spells.  Wizards in D&D have always carried a spellbook and I cannot see playing one without one, that just seems wrong to me and sounds like you would like to play a completly different type of spellcaster like a sorcerer or something.
D&D uses pre-built races, classes, and spells.  I just pick Elf, Wizard, Fireball for instance; no need to build these elements myself (such as with a toolbox system). 

Is the pre-built nature of Vancian casting a turn off for some?  I get the impression that some people enjoy magic that is more free-form, if you will.  

Just curious to see how people feel.  I got to thinking about the pre-built nature of the game after another thread.  Then, the issue of how reliable Vancian casting actually is (when it's described as being hard) came up in this thread, and I started thinking about it some more.
/\ Art
As of 3e I believe they got rid of memorization.  You do not forget your prepared spells, you use them up.

It's the same damn thing!

... except that forgetting spells is hard to justify in-game (because it sounds dumb), while the pre-casting model where you set up the majority of the spell ahead of time and then activate it later during the day is just an unfortunate limitation of the complexity required for spellcasting.  Spontaneous spellcasting - the ability to cast the whole spell right there, on the fly - sounds really impressive from that perspective.

The metagame is not the game.

... except that forgetting spells is hard to justify in-game (because it sounds dumb), while the pre-casting model where you set up the majority of the spell ahead of time and then activate it later during the day is just an unfortunate limitation of the complexity required for spellcasting.

It's still the same damn thing.

Memorization:  I have four spells today, then it's crossbow time.
Preparation:  I have four spells today, then it's crossbow time.

More appropriately, it's crossbow time unless the situation really desperately calls for a spell, and even then you can keep going until you've reached the point of desperation four times. 

The metagame is not the game.

Is "wait in the back until needed" really good design?
The preparation version echoes the sorcery from Zelazny's Amber series, which is an interesting counterpoint to Vancian.  In Zelaznian magic you prep spells with "lynchpins" that you later activate to release the stored magic energy and cast the spell.  In such a system you might take 10 minutes to work out a 1st level spell--but you would get to keep it until you cast it (perhaps even several days later).  Converting to D&D, a wizard would still have their complement of spells but would need to spend game time to prep them by studying their spellbook.  A 1st level wizard might be able to fill all of their spell slots in under an hour.  An archmage might require several days to max out--only to blow them all in a couple of hours.  Extended rests and days have nothing to do with it.

Caveats: It has been ages since I've read the Amber series--and my copy of the Diceless Amber RPG is in the bottom of a box somewhere.  I might be talking out of my portable hole.  Also, I am not recommending that D&D replace Vancian casting with Zelaznian casting.  I am just pointing out a related system balanced somewhat differently as a point of interest for those of us who like spending way too much time thinking about RPG spellcasting systems.
 I am just pointing out a related system balanced somewhat differently as a point of interest for those of us who like spending way too much time thinking about RPG spellcasting systems.


Well, you're in good company for that, at least.
Seriously, though, you should check out the PbP Haven. You might also like Real Adventures, IF you're cool.
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4enclave, a place where 4e fans can talk 4e in peace.
I hate it because it just makes zero sense to me. In the over hundred plus novels I have read, many D&D related, I've only seen this kind of magic style in certain Dragonlance stories.

But, it just makes zero sense to me. Here I am supposedly a magic user, with a spellbook full of spells, and I have to prepare each use in advance...then when I cast it, it's gone. Poof, no more spell unless I prepared it more than once. To me, thats just retarded. Then I have to wait till I can sleep so my mind is suddenly cleared again to repeat the same process.

It's lame. It's maybe great for a novel story, but for a game absolutely not.

I will never play any caster who is restricted in such a fashion. I don't care how many slots open up over the levels... to me it's just not fun.

If the Wizard and Cleric had an Encounter based magic system, then I'll play them. Until then, never.

This is one area about 4e I absolutely loved. No Vancian magic. Bringing it back is, IMO, a huge step back.

But, I am not against it as an option in the game because there are people who do like it, and for people who do the game should have it.
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