Just Switch Over to Spell Points Already!

I really don't understand why they don't just take the final leap and use spell points. After all, they've already stopped using spell slots for preparation (wizards prepare [level +1] total spells now) and they've basically added in augmenting from 3.5 psionics, but it works clumsily with spell slots. There's really no good reason to have spells per day partitioned by level anymore.
part of me agrees.. also I think prepared spells should be level + intellegance bonus.
Yeah, it's very easy to do spell points that ends up allowing you to prepare spells exactly the same as you would with spell slots, just you have a great deal more flexibility.

I get some people love Vancian magic, but they're by far in the minority. Every game that wasn't D&D at least changed one thing, and it was the magic. Everything else might be mostly the same, but nobody ever copied D&D's magic system. 
I am a big proponent of Spell Points (always have been). They have stated that three methods of Magic (Vancian, Spell Points, and AEDU) will be made for Next. Vancian will be Standard and Spell Points and AEDU will be Modules. They won't give us Spell Points or AEDU Modules to Playtest until they have the Core Game near completion (Rules look good, but Classes and Races are still in transition).
Seriously.  This system is too complex and restricting and there are a million better ideas out there.  And if it must be kept, just go ahead and give us other options so we can skip it.
Actually, I liked where one of the earlier packets was going with regards to spell points.  The Sorcerer was the only caster with a spell point system, and to me that makes sense if we are going back to a Vancian type of system.

Wizards are the scholars of spell casting, so it makes sense they would be stuck with a rigid system but have access to more spells via their spell book.  Clerics are at the mercy of how their god(s) give them power.

Sorcerers perform magic through raw talent and force of will/personality.  But they do so with fewer spells to choose from and no outside means of accessing more spells.  So having them be more flexible but with fewer spells to choose from makes perfect sense to me.
Another +1 for Spell Points. It's an easier system to understand, keep track of, and customize what spells you use. It also has the advantage of never screwing you over with having to take old spells. Don't want to cast your 3 1st level spells today? Fine, convert them into 1 3rd level spell.
Actually, I liked where one of the earlier packets was going with regards to spell points.  The Sorcerer was the only caster with a spell point system, and to me that makes sense if we are going back to a Vancian type of system.



Except the Vancian system never made sense to begin with, so there's no 'making sense' in anything that involves going back to it.
Another +1 for Spell Points. It's an easier system to understand, keep track of, and customize what spells you use. It also has the advantage of never screwing you over with having to take old spells. Don't want to cast your 3 1st level spells today? Fine, convert them into 1 3rd level spell.


Except the Vancian system never made sense to begin with, so there's no 'making sense' in anything that involves going back to it.



Some 20 years ago while in college, I dropped D&D like a bad habit and played another system which used spell points.  The problem was that ALL casters, even psionic classes, used a form of spell points.  While there was an RP reason everything was common, it also caused issues with spell point regen rules among other things.

I will be the first to tell you that all Vancian isn't the greatest thing around, but I will also be the first to warn you against asking for an all Spell Point system.  In all honesty, I think that the 4e method of At-Will, Encounter, and Daily is a great compromise between the two systems.  It meets the basic requirements of Vancian (At-Will = Cantrips, Daily = Daily) while recognizing a middle-ground between those two with Encounter powers.

But I stand by my earlier comment.  Vancian is a fine system for scholarly Wizards and divine Clerics.  Have spell points alongside for specific classes, like the Sorcerer as presented in an earlier packet.  I'll never know why they backed away from that class; I thought the juxtaposition of Sorcerer and the other casters brought a level of depth worthy of 5e.
Spell Points creates a problem when you get to high levels because then you can start casting fifteen Power Word: Kills in a day. High level magic is balanced around not being able to use much of it, and they give it more power to compensate, which I think makes it more unique. The option exists to make high level spells cost significantly more spell points, but that then presents the problem of not being able to cast many of your other spells if you choose to use them. 

I think things are headed in the right direction with preparation not being equal to casting, because it lets you prepare a scaleable spell and use it at whatever level you need it at without having to commit it to a spell level before hand.

I honestly think that the new system is easier to teach and learn and understand than 3.5's Vancian-ness, and more interesting to use. I like spell points as an option for appropriate classes, but I agree with Trick that it works well for spells that come from study and prayer. Magic is like diving down into a chasm with a river running through it. You can reach the bottom every now and then, but if you keep trying to do it you'll drown. 
I like a spell point system but not as the core mechanic, especially for the divine casters. As a DM i've always enjoyed switching things up on the clerics and having their diety grant them a spell here and there that they know they will need instead of exactly the spells they pray for. It's an easy way to instill some divine intervention without actually giving away too much of the scenario plot.
I like a spell point system but not as the core mechanic, especially for the divine casters. As a DM i've always enjoyed switching things up on the clerics and having their diety grant them a spell here and there that they know they will need instead of exactly the spells they pray for. It's an easy way to instill some divine intervention without actually giving away too much of the scenario plot.



This has to be the single best argument I've ever seen for Vancian with a divine class.  Well done, sir.
Spell Points creates a problem when you get to high levels because then you can start casting fifteen Power Word: Kills in a day. High level magic is balanced around not being able to use much of it, and they give it more power to compensate, which I think makes it more unique. The option exists to make high level spells cost significantly more spell points, but that then presents the problem of not being able to cast many of your other spells if you choose to use them.



It depends on how many spell points characters have, and how many high level spells cost. As of now, wizards get a maximum total of 19 spells per day, of levels 1-9 (and only 4 of those are level 6+). I very much doubt that they would give a wizard so many SP that he could cast 15 9th level spells per day! Assuming spells cost 1 point per level, and converting the existing spells per day into spell points, a 20th level wizard would have 71 spell points. That's enough to cast 7.8 9th level spells per day, and nothing else.

I doubt they would even have that many SP. 3.x psionics, for example, got far less equivalent spell power out of their spell points than sorcerers (assuming you converted a sorcerer's spells per day into an equivalent number of power points). Follwing that trend, I'd expect a 20th level wizard to have around 50 SP, at most.

That is also assuming they keep spells measures in levels 1-9.  A SP system would work far better if they used a smaller number of spell levels and assigned a SP cost to spells on a case by case basis, so that people couldn't cast 71 1st level spells per day, for example.
The solution is then to have non-damaging "save or die" type spells be equivalent in damage to the damaging spells. Psionics in 3.5E had a 1d6 to 1 power point conversion ratio. 1st level powers cost 1 point, 2nd cost 3 points ... You could either spread all of your damage out in hundreds of 1d6 pecks, or in 20 20d6 hits. I had really liked the hp threshold mechanic for save or dies (they do little if they have more hp, but have a bit of a potential to do more "damage").

Poe's Law is alive and well.

So we want to make wizards more powerful then???
So we want to make wizards more powerful then???



Were 3.x psions more powerful than sorcerers?
So we want to make wizards more powerful then???



Were 3.x psions more powerful than sorcerers?


Fallacy, Psionic 'powers' had few Save or Die effects.  Being able to cast multiple Charm Persons a day (among other select Save or... Spells ) pretty much invalidates the rest of the party.

The issue remains that Magic in D&D is an automatic success, resistence (saving throws) don't count because the Wizard never has to make a roll or suffer failure.  And a smart Wizard will always target the potentially weakest score.
I really don't understand why they don't just take the final leap and use spell points. After all, they've already stopped using spell slots for preparation (wizards prepare [level +1] total spells now) and they've basically added in augmenting from 3.5 psionics, but it works clumsily with spell slots. There's really no good reason to have spells per day partitioned by level anymore.



Spell points are more flexible, but they make the game less fun.

Spell points do have a major disadvantage in that they allow a caster to blow all of his magic in a small number of rounds to great effect.  One of the nice things about a dozen slots over multiple levels is that it takes a dozen rounds to blow through all your magic.  Preventing a one-round nova mitigates the spell caster advantage in one-encounter days.  Spell slots also reduce reduce the incentive for the players to work hard to minimize the number of encounters per day.  

Even if you have multiple encounters per day, it's more fun if the wizard isn't effectively limited to cantrips on low-threat encounters.  If casters are "forced" to spend some of their power on low level spells, they they aren't impinging on their alpha strike capabilities if they use some of those low-level spells in secondary encounters.  If a caster really can concentrate all their magic on a small number of super-effective attacks, then it's tactically unsound to waste spell points on small impact magic.  You end up in a situation where the tactically optimal choice is boring.

-KS 
So we want to make wizards more powerful then???



Were 3.x psions more powerful than sorcerers?



Fallacy, Psionic 'powers' had few Save or Die effects.  Being able to cast multiple Charm Persons a day (among other select Save or... Spells ) pretty much invalidates the rest of the party.

The issue remains that Magic in D&D is an automatic success, resistence (saving throws) don't count because the Wizard never has to make a roll or suffer failure.  And a smart Wizard will always target the potentially weakest score.



Psions did have Save or Die effects, and they had Charm (assuming you were a Telepath or took the Expanded Knowledge feat, but let's not let this turn into an argument about something irrelevant to the topic at hand).

Let me phrase my previous question a different way. "Would sorcerers in 3.x have been more powerful if they had the power points of a Psion instead of spells per day?"  The answer is absolutely not. Converting each of a sorcerer's daily spells into an equivalent number of power points gives a 20th level Sorcerer 486 power points! That's 143 more than a 20th level psion. Granted, a sorcerer didn't have the flexibility to cast a dozen 9th level spells or a couple hundred 1st level powers, but overall, he had far more power. Sorcerer spells scaled in effectiveness with level. Psions had to pay extra power points just to have their damage scale. A sorcerer could cast a 2nd level scorching ray and deal 12d6 damage, while a psion would have to pay 12 power points (the equivalent of a 6th level power) to deal the same damage with energy ray or any other attack power, for example.
So we want to make wizards more powerful then???



Were 3.x psions more powerful than sorcerers?



Fallacy, Psionic 'powers' had few Save or Die effects.  Being able to cast multiple Charm Persons a day (among other select Save or... Spells ) pretty much invalidates the rest of the party.

The issue remains that Magic in D&D is an automatic success, resistence (saving throws) don't count because the Wizard never has to make a roll or suffer failure.  And a smart Wizard will always target the potentially weakest score.



Psions did have Save or Die effects, and they had Charm (assuming you were a Telepath or took the Expanded Knowledge feat, but let's not let this turn into an argument about something irrelevant to the topic at hand).

Let me phrase my previous question a different way. "Would sorcerers in 3.x have been more powerful if they had the power points of a Psion instead of spells per day?"  The answer is absolutely not. Converting each of a sorcerer's daily spells into an equivalent number of power points gives a 20th level Sorcerer 486 power points! That's 143 more than a 20th level psion. Granted, a sorcerer didn't have the flexibility to cast a dozen 9th level spells or a couple hundred 1st level powers, but overall, he had far more power. Sorcerer spells scaled in effectiveness with level. Psions had to pay extra power points just to have their damage scale. A sorcerer could cast a 2nd level scorching ray and deal 12d6 damage, while a psion would have to pay 12 power points (the equivalent of a 6th level power) to deal the same damage with energy ray or any other attack power, for example.



Well, no.  But that's because Sorcerors sucked mechanically as opposed to Wizards, who potentially have access to every single spell in the game.  A lot of which were utterly broken, like Polymorph (all versions.)

The issue with 'Spell points' is that like the Vancian system, the spells automatically function.  But unlike the Vancian system, spell points often let you cast more spells over a shorter period of time.  If Wizards dominated the game when Vancian was around, with the ability to cast MORE spells, does not balance them any better.
Except the Vancian system never made sense to begin with...



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The explanation of the spell memorization/spell slot system that I was first told made pretty good sense to me.  I think it was how Raistlan explained it in Dragonlance:  A spell is burned from your memory by the casting.  That, of course, makes a great in-play rationale for the Vancian magic system (ya know, Dying Earth, Jack Vance, same thing). 

What I'd really like to see is varible spells in a combination of the memorization and event based systems of 3.x and 4th respectively.  You can memorize a variation of a spell, as At-Will, Encounter, or Daily, based on spell level, and some other factors.  For example, an At-Will Magic Missile might do 2 missles at d4 each, but the Encounter power would be 4, and the Daily would be 6, if you had the ability to memorize it at a higher level.

I hope that's as clear as I think it is.  I can re-order my thoughts and try again if it isn't.
They've already said that they're trying to make the magic system alterable. What we've been presented with is a default that is close to the traditional Vancian system. But it's fairly easy to see how the spell point option could be used to replace it.
Anything would be an improvement on the Vancian system. There's a reason no other RPGs (other than the blatant ripoff that is Pathfinder) copy the Vancian system.
Just give me 3d20's and spell costs, baby! (I have billions... I'm made from d20's!)
I completely agree!!!

Spell Points can be balanced to have most of the same characteristics as the latest play packet and are much more intuitive to explain and manage.

I've always thought the iconic thing about the Wizard was not vancian magic, per se, it was that she knew a lot more spells than other magic users but to balance this greater amount of choices, a Wizard must prepare spells in an advance.  So a Wizard is a careful planner and an intellectual as opposed to a Cleric or a Sorcerer.

I say:  Core mechanic is Spell Points.  But you only get access to higher level spells as you level up.  So even if you have enough spell points you have to know how to cast the higher level spell.  (This protects against some future broken min/max spell point juggernaut build).

Other classes know fewer spells but can cast any spell they know with their points.  Wizards know a lot more spells but must choose which to prepare before a long rest.  (This, to me, is the essence of the traditional DND Wizard feel).

I also think different classes should get a bonus to spell points based on abilities (INT for a wizard, WIS for cleric, etc. . .)


As a Seperate, but related issue:  The patching together of At-Will Spells and more traditional Casting still does not feel right to me.

Kind of out there suggestion:  

Make "At-Will" Spells (like magic missile or burning hands), a totally separate kind of magic.  These spells could be limited to simple magic attacks with a single target.  These spells would use an Ability modifier bonus to aim and target AC.  

All other traditional spells would stay the same:  no attack, they just happen when you cast them - some allow saves.

By separating out "at-will attack spells"  You could dole knowledge of them to casters kind of like weapon proficiencies and they wouldn't gum up the spell lists.  It might be me, but I think it's odd that some characters can cast certain spells at-will but others can only access them as a daily resource.  It would make more sense, to me anyway, if these were two different kinds of magic spells. 

This would also let you balance spell points (or the existing system I guess), number of spells, and at will attacks, better.

As the Warlock has proved starting back in 3.5, giving some "at-will" style magic is very fun and not overpoewered.  Lots of people want there character to zap people with magic every round.  (It's nothing a fighter can't do with a longbow anyway.)  I say let it be a full fledged part of magic with its own story, background elements, and rules.

(Now I will wait two minutes for some one to tell me how idiotic everything I just said was and dismiss it in one sentence - as they seem to everytime I post, but I'm posting anyway just in case. . .    )
I see a problem with all classes having spell points. I understand the desire. I have always preferred sorcerers over wizards. However there needs to be a difference between the classes besides just the spell list. Sorcerers use the spell points because they rely on a more chaotic system which feeds off their own energy. However wizards have a very mathematical approach to magic. They have it down to a science. And so the way they cast and aproach the spells needs to be different. The current system is already much better than it was initially. Preparing spells X, Y and Z and being able to cast any of those as long as you have the spell slots is good. A lot better than needing to decide if you're going to prepare spell X once or twice and if you then want to forgo spell Y or Z. It's rather elementary as is. If you don't like this system for magic, then choose a different type of caster, since this is probably not the class for you.

Make "At-Will" Spells (like magic missile or burning hands), a totally separate kind of magic.  These spells could be limited to simple magic attacks with a single target.  These spells would use an Ability modifier bonus to aim and target AC.  

All other traditional spells would stay the same:  no attack, they just happen when you cast them - some allow saves.



Well, it should be noted (and I don't have it in front of me, I'm just going by what I remember), all the damage dealing cantrips in the current playtest require an attack roll.  That's Ray of Frost and Chill Touch that I remember.  I actually think they need to lower the damage die on those from a d10 to a d8, but that is of limited consequence.

Make "At-Will" Spells (like magic missile or burning hands), a totally separate kind of magic.  These spells could be limited to simple magic attacks with a single target.  These spells would use an Ability modifier bonus to aim and target AC.  

All other traditional spells would stay the same:  no attack, they just happen when you cast them - some allow saves.



Well, it should be noted (and I don't have it in front of me, I'm just going by what I remember), all the damage dealing cantrips in the current playtest require an attack roll.  That's Ray of Frost and Chill Touch that I remember.  I actually think they need to lower the damage die on those from a d10 to a d8, but that is of limited consequence.



I disagree. They already lowered the damage on many of those spells. Shocking grasp used to be 1d8+4. Meaning it had a minimum damage of 5, up to 12 damage. Now the minimum is 1 and maximum 10. For a very basic attack, that is fine. Especially since it's ONLY 1d10. No modifiers. Fighters and rogues will have their ability modifiers as well as other abilities to stack on top. An average damage of 5 is by no means too strong for a normal attack. Spellcasters need to be able to remain at least somewhat useful after blowing their few strong spells.

I disagree. They already lowered the damage on many of those spells. Shocking grasp used to be 1d8+4. Meaning it had a minimum damage of 5, up to 12 damage. Now the minimum is 1 and maximum 10. For a very basic attack, that is fine. Especially since it's ONLY 1d10. No modifiers. Fighters and rogues will have their ability modifiers as well as other abilities to stack on top. An average damage of 5 is by no means too strong for a normal attack. Spellcasters need to be able to remain at least somewhat useful after blowing their few strong spells.



Um, thanks for explaining why I used the words "limited consequence", I guess.
Imagine a sepll points system for clerics where they have to pray to tehir god in the morning combined with a skill check (Religion).

The roll determines the amount of bonus spellpoints they got this day.
Hee hee.  Ex., players rolls a 1.  "I found your prayers woefully inadequate this morning, Brother Maynard.  No spells for you."

I know, it ignores the baseline... 
To take the contrary view, no please don't switch to spell points.

First of all, there is the whole "it doesn't make sense arguemnt" against vancian magic.  Do you guys realize how silly that sounds?  Magic, in any form, is not real.  Of course it doesn't make sense.  Spell points don't make sense either.

 Then there is the "but no other rpg used d&d's magic system".  You know what that means?  Anyone who was unhappy with the d&d system could have switched to another rpg years ago.  If you are still playing d&d after 30 years of spell memorization and casting, you can't hate the system that much.  I'd suggest that most of the people who want spell points switched to a game that uses spell points years ago.

 I like the memorization system.  Spell point systems wither have no clear advanacement, or they have 1 best spell which is the only spell you ever use because why would you use any spell other than the best?  With the d&d system of spells segregated by level, you have incentive to keep using the older less effective spells, making each encounter a choice instead of simply hitting max_damage_spell_1 every time.
To take the contrary view, no please don't switch to spell points.

First of all, there is the whole "it doesn't make sense arguemnt" against vancian magic.  Do you guys realize how silly that sounds?  Magic, in any form, is not real.  Of course it doesn't make sense.  Spell points don't make sense either.


It is a poor match up for myth, legend and 99.9 percent of fiction to hell with making sense.
 

or they have 1 best spell which is the only spell you ever use because why would you use any spell other than the best?  


We need a simple caster anyway... seriously. Some things are not comparable spells are very like that. Which is better flight or fireball? Design spells better. 
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

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At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
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To take the contrary view, no please don't switch to spell points.

First of all, there is the whole "it doesn't make sense arguemnt" against vancian magic.  Do you guys realize how silly that sounds?  Magic, in any form, is not real.  Of course it doesn't make sense.  Spell points don't make sense either.



Just because something isn't real doesn't mean it can't be believable. Spell points make more sense to people because they imagine wizards being able to use the same spell multiple times if they need to, or to dump all of their power into a couple big spells rather than a bunch of little ones before exhausting themselves. The idea that a wizard forgets his spells every time he casts them, and has to go back to his spellbook to re-learn fireball even after he's cast that spell every day for years is just ridiculous.

I like the memorization system.  Spell point systems wither have no clear advanacement, or they have 1 best spell which is the only spell you ever use because why would you use any spell other than the best?  With the d&d system of spells segregated by level, you have incentive to keep using the older less effective spells, making each encounter a choice instead of simply hitting max_damage_spell_1 every time.



If you like vancian casting, that's fine. What they should do is provide both systems so that we can each play the type of wizard we want to play. There's no reason, in a system that touts modularity as its biggest feature, that we can't both have our cake and eat it.
When I think of "believable" magic, I think of Gandalf, or Raistlin.  These characters have poweful but clearly limited magic.  In the new Hobbit movie, I don't believe  Gandalf cast more than 3-4 spells through the entire movie, and while the spells all have great effects it's mostly through his timing and placement, not brute strength of the magic.  Raistlin was always described as feeling drained after casting spells, and the need to rest and recharge was clear.

I certainly don't think of some caster who fires off spell attacks at will until he needs to recharge his "points".  I don't understand how that can be believable to anyone, but I guess I shouldn't try to understand your thoughts.  All I know for sure is that it isn't beleivable or logical at all from my point of view.

 The idea that a wizard forgets his spells every time he casts them, and has to go back to his spellbook to re-learn fireball even after he's cast that spell every day for years is just ridiculous.



I agree that idea is ridiculous.  I don't think it's a problem though, because the magic system doesn't actually work that way.  Did you even read the material?

 
What they should do is provide both systems so that we can each play the type of wizard we want to play. There's no reason, in a system that touts modularity as its biggest feature, that we can't both have our cake and eat it.

 

It seems we already can.  You want a simple "wizard" that just casts 1 spell over and over- why don't you just play a fighter or rogue?  That is exactly how they can play- attack, attack, attack.  If you don't want to play the complex class, don't play it.  Asking to have it nerfed into a simple class when you already have 2 simple classes to pick from is just silly.
Think of an adventure the movie, The Hobbit. You can only cast 4 spells the WHOLE time you play the game between your levels. How is that fun? So many people would complain about the Wizard simply not being fun because that is clearly not fair for that class. 
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..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />It seems we already can.  You want a simple "wizard" that just casts 1 spell over and over- why don't you just play a fighter or rogue?  That is exactly how they can play- attack, attack, attack.  If you don't want to play the complex class, don't play it.  Asking to have it nerfed into a simple class when you already have 2 simple classes to pick from is just silly.



There should be simple and complex options for all classes.
I certainly don't think of some caster who fires off spell attacks at will until he needs to recharge his "points".  I don't understand how that can be believable to anyone, but I guess I shouldn't try to understand your thoughts.  All I know for sure is that it isn't beleivable or logical at all from my point of view.

That is pretty much how magic works in the Viking sagas. The mages know magic and can use it spontaneously, at will. In fact, each use needs to be new and fresh. In the moment.

Harry Potter also presents magic atwill. Even more like spellpoints, with repetition and exhaustion. As far as the world is concerned, Harry Potter is successful internationally and most human cultures seem comfortable with magic like that.


There should be simple and complex options for all classes.



 There already is! The simple version of wizard is fighter.  Play a fighter if you don't want complexity.

 
Harry Potter also presents magic atwill. Even more like spellpoints, with repetition and exhaustion. As far as the world is concerned, Harry Potter is successful internationally and most human cultures seem comfortable with magic like that.



I can't think of a single scene in any Harry Potter movie where Harry needs to rest and recover magic points before he can cast a crucial spell.  You do realize the whole "repetition and exhaustion" thing is the whole basis of the standard dungeons & dragons magic system?
I can't think of a single scene in any Harry Potter movie where Harry needs to rest and recover magic points before he can cast a crucial spell.  You do realize the whole "repetition and exhaustion" thing is the whole basis of the standard dungeons & dragons magic system?

The “strength contests” between Harry and Voldemort seem pretty exhausting. Seems like “going nova” with spellpoints.

Moreover, Harry Potter can clearly choose spells spontaneously, on the fly.  



Vancian spellcasting is the opposite of “repetition and exhaustion”. You cant “repeat” a known spell. If you didnt prepare it in advance, you cant repeat it, even if you have 40 unused spell slots. Similarly, there is no “exhaustion”. Whether you can cast it or not depends entirely on preparing it in advance, and has nothing to do with how much energy you left. Vancian spellcasting seems so alien to how most people (and most cultures) think of magic.



Even Tolkien doesnt use vancian magic. If anything, Lord of the Rings only uses magic “rituals”. Not magic spells.

Heh, as Garthanos likes to point out, even Vance doesnt use Vancian magic!