Thursday, August 1, 2013

Is there life beyond Vancian magic?

I was wholly unimpressed with 4E's system of powers. I thought it had potential but probably should have been applied to just spellcasters. When they turned it loose on all classes, it compounded the whole every-class-feels-like-every-other-class problem.

I'm also willing to admit that 3rd Edition's use of the Vancian magic system wasn't without flaws. Particularly at high levels, it gets cumbersome and the lower spells become nearly useless. There is a lot of bookkeeping involved. It's not especially flexible. Etc...

So, I was slightly disappointed to see the system yet again in 5E. Not surprised, but disappointed.

Yes, it's familiar and as such it won't take any time to learn. Okay, there are the rituals and that's a pretty cool idea.

But, I kinda hoped that the designers would seize this opportunity to try something a little radical. Something with spell points like most of the video games and MMOs use.

While I rail against designers of a Role Playing Game making decisions for the sole purpose of marketing it as an IP to video game developers, I understand the need to turn a profit. As such, I can accept that designers need to keep at least one eye on possible video game impact. I only hate it when they bend over backwards for strictly video game issues like class balance.

So, it looks like the x number of spells of x level per day system is here to stay. I'm okay with that. At least they added some tweaks, such as using higher level slots to boost the power or effectiveness. I can't wait to hit some chump with a 9th level Magic Missile. I'll be picturing the look on his face as he thinks, "Ha! That's just a lowly magic missile. Pshaw...owwww fuck that hurt!"

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