Mage as an umbrella

So, I watched the youtube playtest from the D&D R&D team earlier today and it left me wondering somethings.

During the Q&A section Mike Mearls pretty much stated that they are planning to use "Mages" as a heading for "Any Class that uses Arcane Magic", then further dividing the class into such things as Wizards, Sorcerers, Warlocks, Witches?, Bards?, and any setting variation of magic-user, such as the Wizards of Dark Sun or Dragon Lance.

I'm... not sure how to feel about this. While it seems rather elegant to place all arcance spellcasters in one area, which can then be adjusted as needed for the setting, this would make mages the absolute most complex class in the game.

You would chose Mage -> then a sub-class (I'll just list 4 options) Wizard, Sorcerer, Warlock, Bard -> then within that sub-class you'll have traditions and other such things. So wizards would then chose between Evoker, Necromancer, Enchanter, Illusionist, summoner, ect. Sorcerer's would get Draconic, Elemental, Fae, Demonic, ect ect ect.

This would make magic users, IMO, a nearly insurmountable hurdle for newbies as you'll have three levels of design to work through instead of 2 (class and subclass, like a Knight Fighter of Assassin Rogue)

Also, how would this effect the actual spellcasting of the sub-classes, would "Mages" all have the exact same spell progression? Spell lists? Weapon Proficiencies?

Taking a second look at the classes document that could mean that everything we see on page 23 is shared by all mages, leaving pages 24-28 (five pages total) devoted to incomplete lists of wizards. We could easily have "Mages" taking 20-30 pages of the PHB all by themselves.

I'm not decrying this as horrendous or applauding this as genius. I simply wanted to throw my thoughts out here and see what others think about this concept.

Please try and stay polite to each other.
I saw someone likening this idea to putting all weapon users under fighter, and all divine casters under cleric.
Personally I don't think subclasses as replacement for full classes are a good idea, I would prefer subclasses to be specialisations for the class, not completely different branches.

it would also skew multiclassing, eg a warlock/wizard would be a Mage multiclassing in to Mage. 
I don't like it.
   I feel WIZARDS (and other arcane classes as well) would lose a lot of the things that characterize them and breathe to this class its identity. From what I understand, they are going to pull off a channeler Midnight-type, which will consume many classes into one. Why is that a good thing? Well, maybe because 'you' (that's WOTC) will only need to create a lot less class features, and so it will be easier to see how all the class features and abilities interact with one another, and therefore they will save a lot of time preparing this new edition (Gen-Con 2014 draws nearer every day that passes). So let me rephrase my question. Why is that a good thing for someone who plays the game??
   I don't want less choices for picking a class, followed by the promise of prestige classes (like the wizard, the bard, etc...), that when I level up enough they ll roll into place to fix everything and then give back my character's lost identity! I want more classes to choose from to begin with, followed by even more prestige classes to just polish my character's concept (and not create it!).
   When I'm playing dnd and it comes to magic, I wanna have as many options as possible (as that is part of dnd's identity to me, a strong compex and versatile magic system into the game system), and I want that to stretch to when picking an arcane class. Replacing all arcane spellcasters by "the magic-user" feels wrong.
   So, that's a nay from me...

ps: even if all existing arcane classes manage to become something like paths/prestige classes for the magic-user, what will happen to the good old existing 'arcane' prestige classes???
I suspect this is the end result of the Sorcerer & Warlock from the earlier packet. Originally, they had the Wizard as Vancian, the Sorcerer as Spell Points, and Warlock as Encounter Powers. For a unified system, this was a great idea, but Next is not to be a unified system (by design goal). It is meant to be modular, where you can choose to use Vancian, Spell Points, or Encounter Powers for any spellcasting class. Thus the ideas from that packet were discarded (despite being popular IIRC).

I suspect that all spellcasters will eventually use the exact same spells per day chart, and the differences between the Mages will be minor. Perhaps ony Wizards will keep Ritual Casting, Sorcerers have improved Arcane Recovery, and Warlocks will have familiars. These are merely guesses, however, so hopefully this will not be the case.
I don't like it either. Different classes should be different classes, each with a totally different feel. Also, this way the "Mage" has to cover too much ground.
I don't like it at all. If they include sorcerer, wizard and warlock as mage subclasses, each one of them will have to have sub-sub-classes under it (and quite a few of them, the wizard alone will have at least eight and if the sorcerer is done right it will need at least that many bloodlines to choose from). The mage class information will end up being half of the classes chapter.

It also doesn't make any sense why they are only doing this for arcane casters and not warriors and divine casters.

It also seems that the bard will be a separate class even though it's an arcane caster. If they introduce a gish as a core class, where will they put it? Mage, or a separate class?

It's just a bad idea through and through and I hope negative feedback overwhelms them to not fix what isn't broken.
I agree with the aforementioned posts.  I want the Wizard, Sorcerer, and Warlock to be different classes.  First of all, historically, only the Wizard uses Intelligence for their spellcasting ability.  Does this mean that the Sorcerer and Warlock will be Intelligence based too?  That does not work for me from a game world point-of-view, because the point of the Sorcerer is that the power is built in, and he just needs to learns to harness it; while the Warlock is someone who was impatient and cheated to get magical power quickly.  

Also, the classes have operated completely differently in the past.  In 3e, the Sorcerer and Wizard were almost identical.  There were a few differences, but they were mainly cosmetic.  They still cast spells from the same list, they were equally frail.  The Sorcerer was a better 'face' than the Wizard, and had fewer options with his spellcasting, but could cast more spells per day.  The Warlock, on the other hand, had his Eldritch Blast at-will ability, and invocations that could minic the effects of spells, but often had no limit on how often they could be used.  In 4e, there was much more of a difference between the Wizard and Sorcerer, while the Warlock gained limited-use ablities, though it retained Eldritch Blast.

These classes would have to be able to encompass all of these past styles.  The 5e Sorcerer would have to have an option that made it almost the same as a Wizard, and an option that gave it more unique abilities.  The Warlock would have to retain Eldritch Blast and be able to have either limited-use abilities, or persistant ones.   
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I want sorcerers, warlocks, artificers, etc. to be their own classes, not subclasses of Mage. Making every type of arcane magic user a subclass of mage is like making barbarians, paladins and rangers subclasses of figher and druids a subclass of cleric.
The Wizardry class feature includes the following; Spellbook, Spells per Day, Spell Prep, Magic Ability, Ritual Casting, and Arcane Recovery. 

Traditions (which are current Wizardry: School), Scrolls, Potions, and Spell Mastery are the only features not under Wizardry. 

Sorcerers could easily have Sorcerey replace Wizardry, removing the spellbook, giving them Cha to casting and better spell recovery or some encounter mechanic. They would use a Sorcerous tradition or a more genaric one (like a spellblade) that doesn't rely on their main chioce. It cuts down on reprinting the same subclass for mechanically similar classes. If they make a Witch or Sha'ir they could do the same. 

Bards I think have too many mechanics traditionally to fall under Mage. They are aslo weaker caster (up to 5th level) with Bardic music and social bonuses as core mechanics that I don't see fitting under Mage.

Warlocks can work but I really would need to see it, especially since the spell-per-day table is probably used in every Mage branch. 
"Mechanically similar classes".  Therein is the point I don't think many people grasp.  These classes are not mechanically similar.  Sure, in editions past, the Sorcerer and the Wizard were somewhat similar. But none of the other classes you mentioned were similar to each otehr in any way other than they used arcane magic.  They are about as similar as a cleric, druid, paladin, and ranger are now.  They should not be subclasses of one large catch-all class, because they fundamentaly do not function the same.  And they should not.
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I came into this thread hoping to see a Fighter holding a Mage over his head to protect from falling projectiles.  I am dissappointed. 


I can easily see the Sorcerer and Witch being subclasses of Mage.  Sorcerer back in 3.x was always just "Wizard, but..." All of the Witch classes I've seen have just been Wizards with a different coat of paint.

I'm not buying Bard or Warlock, though.  They've always been very different.
I came into this thread hoping to see a Fighter holding a Mage over his head to protect from falling projectiles.  I am dissappointed. 


I can easily see the Sorcerer and Witch being subclasses of Mage.  Sorcerer back in 3.x was always just "Wizard, but..." All of the Witch classes I've seen have just been Wizards with a different coat of paint.

I'm not buying Bard or Warlock, though.  They've always been very different.


LOL, thank you for that image ;)

The bog standard sorcerer from 3.0 and 3.5 are what you describe yes, before splat books added sorcerer bloodline feats. But 3.75 (pf) and 4e took inspiration from previous editions and added the bloodlines as core of the class, and we saw in the first playtest package that this is the line they intended for the sorcerer to go down in next as well.

witch in my mind is an npc class at best, or warlock fey subclass. But hey, if it can be fleshed out enough with several subclasses it really merits its own class.
The more I think about this, the more I hate it. It's bad enough with the Sorcerer, which in 3E shared the same spell list. Even if they decide to give Sorcerers the same progression as Wizards, there's still enough difference to warrant a separate class. It's much more so with Bards and Warlocks. They're just fundamentally different. Those two classes have their own mechanics and spell lists. Bards need Attack Bonus for at least some competence in melee, some form of music and Bardic Knowledge, and they have an entirely different spell progression. Warlocks need Eldritch Blast as an at-will, their Pacts as their subclass option, and their Curse in some form, whether it's bonus damage or penalties or some combination of both.
Once you swap out Wizardry for Sorcery, are there really enough differences?  Bloodlines are perfectly analogous to School specializations. 


Another thing to think about is multiclassing.  Warlocks and Bards have traditionally multiclassed into Wizards/Sorcerers in order to beef up their spellcasting.  Wizards/Sorcerers could feasibly multiclass into Bards for the skills & songs or Warlocks for some at-will blastyness.  

But has there ever been any reason in 3.x for a Wizard to dip into Sorcerer or vice versa?  All it ever does is hurt the character as far as I've seen.
Making them different classes also offers more room for giving them effective strengths and weaknesses to further set them apart.

Bards should be much better in melee than Wizards (though not quite as good as Rogues) and have better buffs (including some kind of at will music ability)  be able to use any staff, wand or scroll, and be generally the most versatile class in the game (even more so than Wizards) truly useful in any situation, while never quite outshining the specialists in their areas of expertise. That's a fine line to walk, I know. They do need their own spell list, for the heals if nothing else. Their weaknesses should include a slower spell progression, a lack of Evasion, not being much tougher than the Wizard, and being much less effective in melee than the Fighter, Barbarian and Paladin. Bard should be an attractive (if not outright superior) option vs multiclassing Wizard/Rogue.

Warlocks should have a different spell list, for thematic reasons if nothing else. They should probably be spontaneous casters. I can see them keying off of Int or Cha. An option would be nice, but no one else has that so maybe not. Their Pacts would of course be their subclass choice. They should have the most effective at will ranged attack in the game, their Eldritch Blast (but only when combined with their Curse). (Note also that I said effective- the most damaging ranged attack should go to Rangers.) They should gain options to their Curse at higher levels, being able to switch from higher damage to penalties applied to the enemy cursed (which should probably be limited to one target at a time). They should be the best debuffing class in the game, at the cost of having very few quality buffs. As spontaneous casters, they would have plenty of spells per day, but only know a few and only learn one per level. Low level spells could eventually become at wills. Alternately, the 5E Warlock could simply work like the 3E one, with everything at will, but weaker than the Wizard spells, and/or gained at later levels. That could make the Warlock the simplest caster, and combined with its rich fluff, an attractive choice for newer players.
Sorcerers could easily have Sorcerey replace Wizardry, removing the spellbook, giving them Cha to casting and better spell recovery or some encounter mechanic. They would use a Sorcerous tradition or a more genaric one (like a spellblade) that doesn't rely on their main chioce. It cuts down on reprinting the same subclass for mechanically similar classes. If they make a Witch or Sha'ir they could do the same. 



The problem with this is even character logic. I have two PCs in our group - one is elven Wizard, very educated and his whole personality is based on Intellignace. Other one is 2012 august Sorcerer, based on his Charisma and mostl "talkative" of group. They are very distinct character based only on they Spellcasting Abiliteses.

Even if we made only Sorcerer as Mage subclass, it means that PC starting on first level as mostly Inteligence character from the 2nd level becomes mostly Charisma character. Not only it's illogical in game world, but also mechaniclly. Frown
I love the mage as an umbrella.

I see wizardry, sorcery, witchcraft, and artifice to fit very well beneath the broad concept that is 'mage', and I'm looking forward to the ways in which they differentiate each tradition.

I'm also excited to see what sort of naming conventions they use for the sub-traditions (i.e. Wizardry: School of X, Sorcery: Bloodline of X, Witchcraft: Pact of X, etc.). 

Danny


The problem with this is even character logic. I have two PCs in our group - one is elven Wizard, very educated and his whole personality is based on Intellignace. Other one is 2012 august Sorcerer, based on his Charisma and mostl "talkative" of group. They are very distinct character based only on they Spellcasting Abiliteses.

Even if we made only Sorcerer as Mage subclass, it means that PC starting on first level as mostly Inteligence character from the 2nd level becomes mostly Charisma character. Not only it's illogical in game world, but also mechaniclly. 



Not necessarily.

Wizardry is a level 1 feature, you only specialize at level 2.

They could very easily make it so that at level 1 you have to choose Wizardry or Sorcery (or whatever else) and then at level 2, the traditions have prerequisites. So School of Evocation requires Wizardry while Dragon Bloodline requires Sorcery. 
I see wizardry, sorcery, witchcraft, and artifice to fit very well beneath the broad concept that is 'mage', and I'm looking forward to the ways in which they differentiate each tradition.

I'd rather be provided examples of what I could be, than be told what I must be.

I see wizardry, sorcery, witchcraft, and artifice to fit very well beneath the broad concept that is 'mage', and I'm looking forward to the ways in which they differentiate each tradition.

I'd rather be provided examples of what I could be, than be told what I must be.




Why do you assume this won't be the case?
Why do you assume this won't be the case?

PT3, various L&Ls, various articles.

The general mood created by all of the above is one where creating a "mage" running on spellpoints means it's still going to be obligated to pick from a small list of ancestries and use CHA as the keystone, when all I really want is a slotless INT-wizard.

From about a year ago, and I've yet to see any suggestion otherwise:
"Hey, Mike.  Can we get a non-vancian option for Wizard?"
"Sure!  Here's two more classes, each using a different system, and loads of flavor you'll probably hate!"
"No, Mike.  A non-vancian option for Wizard."
"Sure!  Here's some more encounter and at-will powers, which we'll lock to specialist for some reason!"
"No, Mike.  A non-vancian option, with no spell-slots at all."
"Sure!  Here's some other damn thing you didn't actually ask for!"
"AARRGHGHRHRHRHA!"

Why do you assume this won't be the case?

PT3, various L&Ls, various articles.

The general mood created by all of the above is one where creating a "mage" running on spellpoints means it's still going to be obligated to pick from a small list of ancestries and use CHA as the keystone, when all I want is a slotless INT-wizard.




Strange.

What I've read led me to believe that they were divorcing the idea of Spell-slots vs. Spellpoints from class and building a separate magic altering module.

It was my understanding that one of the reasons they ditched the august12 Sorcerer and Warlock was because they didn't want to relegate their spellcasting mechanics to separate classes. 
What I've read led me to believe that they were divorcing the idea of Spell-slots vs. Spellpoints from class and building a separate magic altering module.

IF, Mechanic 4 has no obligation to Flavor D, not only for mages for everyone else, then we're on to something.
I like this idea.  If the generic CLASS is Mage, then at first level  you select the type of mage you want to be, such as wizard, socerer, warlock, witch, shair, ect.  The bard doesn't fit in in my opinion.  You could even do it with the other classes as well.  Right now rangers feel more like fighters that are forced to be either two weapons melee or archers with all the woodsy stuff taken care of by backgrounds that let anyone be a woodsman.  Back in 1ed they kind of did that with the Fighter with the subclasses of Paladin and Ranger.  

I also don't think it would be too complex for a new player.  You start out  "I want to be a Harry Potter wizard, how do I do it?"  Start off with Mage then pick from there for wizard and then on to the school you prefer.  I don't think it is really that hard to figure it out. 

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/26.jpg)


The problem with this is even character logic. I have two PCs in our group - one is elven Wizard, very educated and his whole personality is based on Intellignace. Other one is 2012 august Sorcerer, based on his Charisma and mostl "talkative" of group. They are very distinct character based only on they Spellcasting Abiliteses.

Even if we made only Sorcerer as Mage subclass, it means that PC starting on first level as mostly Inteligence character from the 2nd level becomes mostly Charisma character. Not only it's illogical in game world, but also mechaniclly. 



I think I may not have clarified as concisely as I should have and you missed my understanding of what Mage as an umbrella means. The Mage is not a basic class of I pick Mage at level one and become a Sorcerer at level 2. At level 1 Mages currently gain a class feature called "Wizardry" which gives them the spell book, sets their casting stat to Int, and gives them Arcane Recovery. At level 2 they gain their Tradition, currently the different schools of magic. This is what I see it being in the next packet (if they don't test the sorcerer/witch now in their last packet there might be discontent later)

Level 1: Esoteric Knowledge, Source of Power
Level 2: Tradition/Patron/Bloodline

Source of Power: At level one choose which source of magic you draw power from. Sha'ir, Sorcerer, Witch, or Wizard.


  • Sha'ir do not gain their spells by inate ability or study, instead they barter with genies and elemental lords to borrow their powers using a bound elemental wisp to travel between the planes to barter for and bring them the spells. Charisma is their casting ability and they can access other spell lists at a penalty (either longer "prep" time for the spell or it casts in a higher slot without the benefit"). They cannot use rituals as a balancing factor for full spell list access, as well as no Arcane Recovery. Subclasses would be some kind of genie/elemental binder, elemental focus, and generic Mage subclasses

  • Sorcerers are born with their magic. Charisma is their casting ability. They learn only 3 spells at level 1 and gain either 1 or 2 spells at each level, probably 2 at every level in which they gain a new spell level, one at each other level. They have the same Arcane Recovery due to bloodline abilities which are encounter. They can cast rituals of the spells they know. Their subclasses are Bloodlines, with bloodline abilities, or generic Mage subclasses.

  • Witchs gain their spells from the special familairs that appeared to them. Wisdom is their casting ability (I know it  was Intelligence in Path but some variety beyond Int and Cha isn't a bad thing.) The familiar acts like a Wizard's spellbook, storing their spells and capable of learning new ones. No Arcane Recovery and Rituals are allowed. Weak hexes are in their core class feature. Subclasses are for the Witch's patron, which gives them access to stronger hexes, and generic Mage subclasses.

  • Wizards are what they are now. Though I would like to see the cost of copying spells decrease.


Which each Source of Power gives access to a specific list of subclasses, since they all fall under the same umbrella it's easier to make genaric subclasses for them without having to reprint or modify the more genaric ones for each and every Mage class and then revisit them for new casters that use a different format.
At level 1 Mages currently gain a class feature called "Wizardry" which gives them the spell book, sets their casting stat to Int, and gives them Arcane Recovery.

Couldn't we simplify this even more, and tie Int-casting to the very act of owning a spellbook?
This could even open the possibility of hybrid-mages who "instinct" (cha-cast) some spells and "learn" (int-cast) others, and/or Wizards with emergency fallbacks and Sorcerors with occasional flexibility.

Why do you assume this won't be the case?

PT3, various L&Ls, various articles.

The general mood created by all of the above is one where creating a "mage" running on spellpoints means it's still going to be obligated to pick from a small list of ancestries and use CHA as the keystone, when all I really want is a slotless INT-wizard.

From about a year ago, and I've yet to see any suggestion otherwise:
"Hey, Mike.  Can we get a non-vancian option for Wizard?"
"Sure!  Here's two more classes, each using a different system, and loads of flavor you'll probably hate!"
"No, Mike.  A non-vancian option for Wizard."
"Sure!  Here's some more encounter and at-will powers, which we'll lock to specialist for some reason!"
"No, Mike.  A non-vancian option, with no spell-slots at all."
"Sure!  Here's some other damn thing you didn't actually ask for!"
"AARRGHGHRHRHRHA!"




I lolled.
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