Burn spell slots, burn! - eliminating spell idiocy -

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Re: Burn spell slots, burn! - eliminating spell idiocy -

Post by Gawain_VIII » Sat Apr 09, 2011 8:36 pm

Zacaros wrote:yes, but one does foreplanning with tools, weapons and such, not magic, it sound like "i'd better bring two sacred tomes just in case we need twice godly power", or "lemme prepare a cuople of fire spells, you never know when you need a grill", totally heroic.
I disagree. Typically, when I play spellcasters, I'll have a couple lists of prepared spells for "typical" events, such as dungeon crawling, wilderness travel, and wartime. Additionally, if I have some foreknowledge about the current quest, I'll prepare my spells based on that expectation... You don't go loading up on fireballs if you're searching for the lair of a red dragon, after all.

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Re: Burn spell slots, burn! - eliminating spell idiocy -

Post by cab » Sat Apr 09, 2011 8:53 pm

Zacaros wrote:after all, foreplanning in magic using it's just as bad as it sound : how can you foretell what situations you'll be into? you can't, and even knowing some bits, there are still lots of possible scenarios.Magic user are not walking magic items, and the stratigal planning it's totally useless, there are far too many options for the gm to make such tactic useful.
Foreplanning for a spellcaster doesn't sound bad. And it isn't bad. And it is not impossible (or even difficult) for a DM to build scenarios around not knowing what spells the PC's will choose to memorise. Why is it bad for a magic user to have to plan in advance what spells may be needed? Why is that complex or difficult? And why wouldn't you want players to try to come up with as many creative uses dor spells that they've got memorised as possible? The result of Vancian magic is that players find creative uses for what they have. Its a good thing.
I consider wizards being a bit more flexible with the use of metamagic feats (and having spell points makes you able to use them a bit more freely), plus the use of spell points at least gives away a good reason of why i can't cast some spells more than once : memorizing it's such a ridiculous concept that we even got it as the key point of an entire parody series (and the only one where spell slots seemed to have a logic, discworld).It sounds like "i'm too stupid to learn more than one 9-level spell even if i have fought dragons, seen miracles and traveled on the planes at this level", plus it counter balance a lot of things, you don't get a spell arsenal ready even if you use up your high level spells, but you can choose to use only high level spells today and none of the others.A 15 level wizard with a casting modifer of +4 gets a total of 29 spell points and have access to spells up to level 7, is able to cast only 1 7th level spell (since they cost 15 spell points) but at least can manage this points as he wants and when he wants, instead of having too much or not enough power
Memorisation ridiculous? Read the second half of Roger Zelaznys 'Amber Chronicles'. Its a superb way of handling a magic system; its not just 'memorising', its pre-organising energies, its 'hanging' the energies in some kind of personal power store to trigger later upon saying a few words and maybe expending some components.

You don't like it. I get that. But it isn't ridiculous; at least, its no more ridiculous than any other arbritrary limitation on fictional magic.

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Re: Burn spell slots, burn! - eliminating spell idiocy -

Post by cab » Sat Apr 09, 2011 8:54 pm

Zacaros wrote:yes, but one does foreplanning with tools, weapons and such, not magic, it sound like "i'd better bring two sacred tomes just in case we need twice godly power", or "lemme prepare a cuople of fire spells, you never know when you need a grill", totally heroic.
I don't get it. Why is a wizard planning less heroic than a fighter planning?

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Re: Burn spell slots, burn! - eliminating spell idiocy -

Post by Zacaros » Sat Apr 09, 2011 9:37 pm

or maybe you should if he's packed with lots of red spawns, or a dragon cult that you may not have forseen.Maybe that's not a dragon but an illusion cast by an epic-level illusionist, or it's a template creature that looks and acts like a red dragon, but it's a total different thing.There are far too many options for the gm for the spellcasters to prevent, and playing the guy with a spell list prepared it's ridiculous as it's depressing.It's like you're not wielding your power, you're carring it around, like a warrior that have his sword borrowed for some hours at day, plus it's one the most frustrating tropes of the d&d imaginery : it pts you in the shoes of a walking magic item and gives the right to the gm to invent the most absurd ideas just to smash the party efforts.It's the assumption of having the possibility to face some situations and having part of the solution at hand, and it's not tactical, it just works o stereotyped encounters.It has been one of the longest running and really one of the worst, it lead to the 4th edition thought of "everyone expends something, and the gm make them spend it", and this is not playing an rpg, it's ccg thinking.When you prepare for dungeon crawling you should think about other things, i've surprised a party with sudden explosions and crumbles in a mine, that they thought being caused by absolutley everything save for common mine instability and natural gases, and the next time they adventured underground they took the safety gear along.
Preparing for adventures should inteded when you're playing an adventure, not a run at the monster-mall.

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Re: Burn spell slots, burn! - eliminating spell idiocy -

Post by AuldDragon » Sat Apr 09, 2011 10:17 pm

Zacaros wrote:or maybe you should if he's packed with lots of red spawns, or a dragon cult that you may not have forseen.Maybe that's not a dragon but an illusion cast by an epic-level illusionist, or it's a template creature that looks and acts like a red dragon, but it's a total different thing.There are far too many options for the gm for the spellcasters to prevent, and playing the guy with a spell list prepared it's ridiculous as it's depressing.It's like you're not wielding your power, you're carring it around, like a warrior that have his sword borrowed for some hours at day, plus it's one the most frustrating tropes of the d&d imaginery : it pts you in the shoes of a walking magic item and gives the right to the gm to invent the most absurd ideas just to smash the party efforts.It's the assumption of having the possibility to face some situations and having part of the solution at hand, and it's not tactical, it just works o stereotyped encounters.It has been one of the longest running and really one of the worst, it lead to the 4th edition thought of "everyone expends something, and the gm make them spend it", and this is not playing an rpg, it's ccg thinking.When you prepare for dungeon crawling you should think about other things, i've surprised a party with sudden explosions and crumbles in a mine, that they thought being caused by absolutley everything save for common mine instability and natural gases, and the next time they adventured underground they took the safety gear along.
Preparing for adventures should inteded when you're playing an adventure, not a run at the monster-mall.
Players should be creative, and not having the perfect spell available at every single instance encourages that. It makes them think about multiple uses for the spells before they memorize them, and makes them think up new uses on the spot. And guess what? The *same exact thing* applies to any equipment they carry. They can't carry equipment for every possible scenario, and they can't memorize spells for every possible scenario. Spells are basically a wizard's equipment. Can it be frustrating? Sure. But if a player whines because, ohnoes, they memorized a fireball before going into a cramped dungeon, well, they're not a player I want to play with. When I DM, I do not try to plan all my adventures to foil the player's spell selections, just as I don't plan an adventure to maximize the usage of their spell selections. And I don't want to play in a game where a DM does that.

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Re: Burn spell slots, burn! - eliminating spell idiocy -

Post by Zacaros » Sat Apr 09, 2011 10:25 pm

sure, nobody does want to play that kind of game, but believe it or not, spell slots were inteded for exactly such kind of game.
frustrating ? i'd call it downgrading, it's like being a walking staff of lightining with the bad habits of talking or dying, that's not magic, that's a parody, since spell aren't anyway near or practical as *common* equipment, like rope, helmets, lanterns or pieces of rags to cover your mouth while you're exploring a century old underground graveyard.If they are equipment, there is no magic, just a silly substitution for other type of equipment, a laughable way to have dynamite by calling it fireball.

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Re: Burn spell slots, burn! - eliminating spell idiocy -

Post by AuldDragon » Sun Apr 10, 2011 2:14 am

Zacaros wrote:sure, nobody does want to play that kind of game, but believe it or not, spell slots were inteded for exactly such kind of game.
frustrating ? i'd call it downgrading, it's like being a walking staff of lightining with the bad habits of talking or dying, that's not magic, that's a parody, since spell aren't anyway near or practical as *common* equipment, like rope, helmets, lanterns or pieces of rags to cover your mouth while you're exploring a century old underground graveyard.If they are equipment, there is no magic, just a silly substitution for other type of equipment, a laughable way to have dynamite by calling it fireball.
It's downgrading to not be perfectly prepared for every possible scenario? How does that work? And spell slots were intended for exactly the kind of game no one wants to play? Then how has D&D remained the most popular RPG?

And I really don't see the comparison between wizards and magic items. Magic items don't have intelligence, and have set and unvarying abilities. Wizards can decide what spells to memorize, and they can learn new spells, and they can cast them in unusual ways. But yeah, spells are really no different from equipment, in a meta-sense. If a stick of dynamite has the same effects as a fireball, then the only real difference is that it weighs you down before you use it. Of course, D&D doesn't have dynamite. Using spell-points doesn't change that, except it removes the need to plan and prepare.

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Re: Burn spell slots, burn! - eliminating spell idiocy -

Post by Gawain_VIII » Sun Apr 10, 2011 3:06 am

I think what Zacaros is alluding to in his comparison of casters with magic items is that Vancian magic is "one and done". Once their spells are spent, they're "useless", just like a wand that's out of charges is little more than a twig. Although I disagree with his assessment, I can see where he's coming from. I've been toying with a way to utilize some variation of "spell points" to keep my low-level casters (wizards, specifically) from running into that problem. Unfortunately, I've yet to find a solution that works well at low levels that doesn't get broken above 5th level. With that said, while "basic level" (to borrow a BECMI term) wizards do, esentially, become useless in a Vancian system once their spells are spent, this is less the case at higher levels when they have a wider range of options available to them via feats and skills, not to mention better BAB and more HPs.

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Re: Burn spell slots, burn! - eliminating spell idiocy -

Post by Jorkens » Sun Apr 10, 2011 10:11 am

I cant really see it being that much of a problem. The DM has (in my opinion) a part responsibility to at least give some hints if he plans something that demands very specific spells anyway, so the wizard shouldn't be that useless when he is past 3 level. I would say that the Vancian system in may ways makes one less of a magical item as it makes it practical (almost necessary) to carry and use a diverse selection of spells. Its easier to just keep on throwing the most effective spells repeatedly than being forced to find creative uses for the spells left.

Now what about priests in the same situation, do they just get s store of divine power or do they still pray for individual one-shot spells?

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Re: Burn spell slots, burn! - eliminating spell idiocy -

Post by Zacaros » Sun Apr 10, 2011 10:44 am

it's downgrading to be comparable to a tool box, and worst of all, a tool box with limited uses and not exactly useful things, talking about not being the sharpest tool in the shed (and this is single-handy the worst insult for the stereotypical "smart character").Fireballs used in closed space, magic missles that give away your position, low-damaging second level spells that just rob you of your actual highest level slot, useless defense spell against far too aggressive npcs....and the typical scene "why you used that?" "because that's what i had prepared!", you can be creative when you have options, unless you're not creative, you're hoping.Obviously there's nothing like the perfect spell for a precise situation, but at least should be the better choice instead of the lesser evil or the less crappy.Talking about metamagical feats, great idea but the slots kills them on the spot, since how limiting that is, at least having points, you have a similiar limitation, but not so frustating at the point of "if i'm preparing this i cannot prepare something else", especially if you don't even know if it will be ever useful.Silent charm spells on zombies, i've seen that, and it was as desperate as it sounds.
And how a full casting class is useful outside of casting spells ? the few knowledge skills can be taken by other classes with more flexibility, and aside from crafting wondrous items (one of the less used skill ever), you'll rarely see these classes as useful somewhere else, the bab is too low especially at high levels when you become unable to hit anything aside from mannequis, very still mannequins, and with what ? simple weapons, probably a d6 plus your str mod, or better to say minus that, since how hard is to find a player that gives it a positive score, or just have enough luck to have a positive score for such a secondary stat.To be honest there are feats allowing the wizard & co to have a slight better combat usefulness, nearly none of them in the wotc line of books and most of them have complex prerequisites.
And the d4 hit dice...well let' not talk about it.At least they should have the same bab of a cleric, still having simple weapons, but at least hitting sometimes.They don't even get the same privileges of the cleric in other senses, most of the time they are wandering adventurers, while clerics have a complete organization behind them, another low point.
A thing that i would gladly eliminate it's the spell failure when wearing armor, i would keep it when wearing enchanted armor (since the present energy would interfere with spells) but for the rest it should be limitless.

And about the percieved popularity of d&d i'd like always to quote an old master saying "rpgs are good for many, but not for everyone", talking about what sells itself as the most popular against what is good quality

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Re: Burn spell slots, burn! - eliminating spell idiocy -

Post by rabindranath72 » Sun Apr 10, 2011 11:11 am

Zacaros wrote:They don't even get the same privileges of the cleric in other senses, most of the time they are wandering adventurers, while clerics have a complete organization behind them, another low point.
A thing that i would gladly eliminate it's the spell failure when wearing armor, i would keep it when wearing enchanted armor (since the present energy would interfere with spells) but for the rest it should be limitless.
Again, you are making campaign-style assumptions and considering them limitations of the rules. Ever heard of Dragonlance and Wizards of High Sorcery? Or the Circle of Eight in Greyhawk? Or Magicians' Guilds in essentially every D&D campaign?

It seems you are rambling against all the basic elements of D&D. Maybe you should just play a different game?

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Re: Burn spell slots, burn! - eliminating spell idiocy -

Post by Zacaros » Sun Apr 10, 2011 12:39 pm

giulds and such association don't hold the same literally divine power and outright political influence that a church can hold.Who's gonna heal your cities, your wizards or your priests? who speaks words of wisdom even when they don't? who's the higher cause of **** ups by summoning monsters and creating uncontrollable magical mcguffins just for the heck of it ?in most settings assualting a priest is punished with drowing, while assaulting a wizard, even an high level one is seen as "probably he was looking for trouble".
But common sense aside, not even able to gasp part of your power ad managing it as a source it the bottom of the barrel.Why have magic if you don't have a more direct control over it ? sometimes i think that alchemists could be better at fitting in the game over spellcasters

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Re: Burn spell slots, burn! - eliminating spell idiocy -

Post by cab » Sun Apr 10, 2011 2:00 pm

Zacaros wrote:or maybe you should if he's packed with lots of red spawns, or a dragon cult that you may not have forseen.Maybe that's not a dragon but an illusion cast by an epic-level illusionist, or it's a template creature that looks and acts like a red dragon, but it's a total different thing.There are far too many options for the gm for the spellcasters to prevent, and playing the guy with a spell list prepared it's ridiculous as it's depressing.
Yes, it is impossible for any individual to be prepared for every single eventuality. Why is that bad? And you keep saying that memorisation is ridiculous and depressing, but you don't seem to say why its ridiculous, and I don't accept (even for a moment) that it is depressing. Why would it be?
It's like you're not wielding your power, you're carring it around, like a warrior that have his sword borrowed for some hours at day, plus it's one the most frustrating tropes of the d&d imaginery : it pts you in the shoes of a walking magic item and gives the right to the gm to invent the most absurd ideas just to smash the party efforts.It's the assumption of having the possibility to face some situations and having part of the solution at hand, and it's not tactical, it just works o stereotyped encounters.It has been one of the longest running and really one of the worst, it lead to the 4th edition thought of "everyone expends something, and the gm make them spend it", and this is not playing an rpg, it's ccg thinking.When you prepare for dungeon crawling you should think about other things, i've surprised a party with sudden explosions and crumbles in a mine, that they thought being caused by absolutley everything save for common mine instability and natural gases, and the next time they adventured underground they took the safety gear along.
Preparing for adventures should inteded when you're playing an adventure, not a run at the monster-mall.
I think that I disagree with every aspect of what you've just said.

That a mage has a limiter repertoire doesn't make him like a magic item. That a mage has to plan in advance and will sometimes have to find a more creative route to success isn't depressing or damaging to the game. That spell selection in advance may be disadvantageous in some encounters does not de-value those encounters. It is not a frustrating aspect of the game.

With respect, that it is something you dislike does not make it frustrating or bad. Its just something you dislike.

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Re: Burn spell slots, burn! - eliminating spell idiocy -

Post by cab » Sun Apr 10, 2011 2:04 pm

I also couldn't disagree more about a low level mage being useless after casting spells; and I disagree with a spell point system being any kind of solution to that non-problem.

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Re: Burn spell slots, burn! - eliminating spell idiocy -

Post by rabindranath72 » Sun Apr 10, 2011 3:28 pm

Zacaros wrote:giulds and such association don't hold the same literally divine power and outright political influence that a church can hold.Who's gonna heal your cities, your wizards or your priests? who speaks words of wisdom even when they don't? who's the higher cause of **** ups by summoning monsters and creating uncontrollable magical mcguffins just for the heck of it ?in most settings assualting a priest is punished with drowing, while assaulting a wizard, even an high level one is seen as "probably he was looking for trouble".
But common sense aside, not even able to gasp part of your power ad managing it as a source it the bottom of the barrel.Why have magic if you don't have a more direct control over it ? sometimes i think that alchemists could be better at fitting in the game over spellcasters
Common sense? You are simply stating possible campaign frameworks, not something which is (or needs to be) embedded in the rules.
I have run Classic D&D games set in the Hyborian Age, where clerics are always evil and only NPCs, and get their powers from demonic pacts, whereas magic-users need not be evil, and sometimes they are even priests of Gods which don't grant any powers (e.g. Ibis and Mitra,) and they are even loved and respected by the common people because they cast charms which protect against the machinations of Set and its priests.
So, as you see, same set of rules, totally different outcomes when it comes to playing.
Last edited by rabindranath72 on Sun Apr 10, 2011 3:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Burn spell slots, burn! - eliminating spell idiocy -

Post by rabindranath72 » Sun Apr 10, 2011 3:31 pm

You can't compare a spellcaster to an equipment list (or a fighter, say) for a simple reason: there is a trade-off between frequency of use and achievable effects. A fighter can continue using his sword ad infinitum because it does only one thing, and only in one way; not very flexible. A spellcaster can do lots of things, in many different ways; very flexible. If you put the latter in the same conditions to act as the former, no one will want to play anything else than a spellcaster. Again, this might be a conscious design choice, but then, you are not playing D&D anymore. You are playing Ars Magica.

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Re: Burn spell slots, burn! - eliminating spell idiocy -

Post by Davane » Thu Sep 22, 2011 3:21 am

May I mention that I have a fairly full working version of a MP-based system for spellcaster from my work on the Legend of Zelda Roleplaying Game? Things are a little different, because we rearranged the spells according to aspects and got rid of the alignment spells, but other than that, it full, it works, and it is completely tested. I can share if you are interested in knowing more for this conversion.

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Re: Burn spell slots, burn! - eliminating spell idiocy -

Post by Davane » Thu Sep 22, 2011 3:37 am

rabindranath72 wrote:You can't compare a spellcaster to an equipment list (or a fighter, say) for a simple reason: there is a trade-off between frequency of use and achievable effects. A fighter can continue using his sword ad infinitum because it does only one thing, and only in one way; not very flexible. A spellcaster can do lots of things, in many different ways; very flexible. If you put the latter in the same conditions to act as the former, no one will want to play anything else than a spellcaster. Again, this might be a conscious design choice, but then, you are not playing D&D anymore. You are playing Ars Magica.
Indeed. Although, your example is flawed - you are comparing the fighter swinging his sword and a spellcaster using spells. This is hardly an apt comparison, since you are comparing a specific class using a limited tactic, albeit repetitively with a more generic role using a more generic usage. A more appropriate example is to compare a fighter swinging a sword to a sorcerer casting magic missile. Then your logic breaks down - it's only because potentially spellcasters CAN do more. But, then again, so can warriors and other non-spellcasters if they choose to do it.

If you use a MP based system, the only real way to make it work is to restrict the spells learnt in some way - you are essentially getting rid of the Wizard class and turning most casters into spontaneous casters. It's not a hard thing to do. Or you do it the other way around, get rid of the sorcerer and make the Wizard default, using Vancian magic and preparation, allowing for the kind of versatility that wizards allow for. However, you shouldn't allow any spellcaster to be both - allowing the versatility of a lot of spells and the freedom of MP basically means these characters can do a lot of things. If you do this, your only other alternative is to cripple their MP pools, meaning they can't actually do much, resulting in either a slow game or frustrated casters, or a group that insists on resting all the time because they have no choice but to use everything they have during every encounter just to survive.

Ultimately, you have to work out what your limits to spellcasting are, so that magic is balanced with everything else to some degree, otherwise you are going to have nothing but spellcasters in your games. Spell slots and the limitations of planning are just one form of limitation.

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Re: Burn spell slots, burn! - eliminating spell idiocy -

Post by rabindranath72 » Fri Sep 23, 2011 10:13 am

Davane wrote:
rabindranath72 wrote:You can't compare a spellcaster to an equipment list (or a fighter, say) for a simple reason: there is a trade-off between frequency of use and achievable effects. A fighter can continue using his sword ad infinitum because it does only one thing, and only in one way; not very flexible. A spellcaster can do lots of things, in many different ways; very flexible. If you put the latter in the same conditions to act as the former, no one will want to play anything else than a spellcaster. Again, this might be a conscious design choice, but then, you are not playing D&D anymore. You are playing Ars Magica.
Indeed. Although, your example is flawed - you are comparing the fighter swinging his sword and a spellcaster using spells. This is hardly an apt comparison, since you are comparing a specific class using a limited tactic, albeit repetitively with a more generic role using a more generic usage. A more appropriate example is to compare a fighter swinging a sword to a sorcerer casting magic missile. Then your logic breaks down - it's only because potentially spellcasters CAN do more. But, then again, so can warriors and other non-spellcasters if they choose to do it.
In fact I wrote: You CAN'T compare a fighter with a magic-user. If you limit your analysis to damage output, you end up with something like 4e, where what all classes do is essentially fight, and they are defined in terms of combat, and balanced with each other with these terms.
If you compare a fighter which can attack each round and inflict 1d8, vs. a spellcaster which has only a limited opportunity of inflicting 1d6+1, before reverting to being "fully flexible" (and possibly dead) with a d4 dagger and no armour; you notice the comparison is not really valid, number-wise.
Lacking a basis for a real comparison, things get fuzzy, so what you CAN do is a "meta-comparison" which abstracts from the actual numbers but focuses on the general use of the class in the game. Hence, fighters with their reliable and reusable and specific abilities, vs. magic-users with their extremely flexible but potentially unreliable and non-specific abilities.

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Re: Burn spell slots, burn! - eliminating spell idiocy -

Post by Davane » Fri Sep 23, 2011 12:57 pm

rabindranath72 wrote:
Davane wrote:
rabindranath72 wrote:You can't compare a spellcaster to an equipment list (or a fighter, say) for a simple reason: there is a trade-off between frequency of use and achievable effects. A fighter can continue using his sword ad infinitum because it does only one thing, and only in one way; not very flexible. A spellcaster can do lots of things, in many different ways; very flexible. If you put the latter in the same conditions to act as the former, no one will want to play anything else than a spellcaster. Again, this might be a conscious design choice, but then, you are not playing D&D anymore. You are playing Ars Magica.
Indeed. Although, your example is flawed - you are comparing the fighter swinging his sword and a spellcaster using spells. This is hardly an apt comparison, since you are comparing a specific class using a limited tactic, albeit repetitively with a more generic role using a more generic usage. A more appropriate example is to compare a fighter swinging a sword to a sorcerer casting magic missile. Then your logic breaks down - it's only because potentially spellcasters CAN do more. But, then again, so can warriors and other non-spellcasters if they choose to do it.
In fact I wrote: You CAN'T compare a fighter with a magic-user. If you limit your analysis to damage output, you end up with something like 4e, where what all classes do is essentially fight, and they are defined in terms of combat, and balanced with each other with these terms.
If you compare a fighter which can attack each round and inflict 1d8, vs. a spellcaster which has only a limited opportunity of inflicting 1d6+1, before reverting to being "fully flexible" (and possibly dead) with a d4 dagger and no armour; you notice the comparison is not really valid, number-wise.
Lacking a basis for a real comparison, things get fuzzy, so what you CAN do is a "meta-comparison" which abstracts from the actual numbers but focuses on the general use of the class in the game. Hence, fighters with their reliable and reusable and specific abilities, vs. magic-users with their extremely flexible but potentially unreliable and non-specific abilities.
My bad, but my argument still stands - you are providing an inherent limitation by comparing (or not comparing) two things in deliberately different ways to try and prove your argument.

Your argument is that if you put the latter (the spellcaster) to act as the former (the fighter) you end up with Ars Magica. The problem with this is that you assume that spellcasters would retain their flexibility. If spellcasters were truly to become like fighters, then their magical abilities would stop being flexible.

That said, a much more apt comparison is a fighter armed with a longbow and a sorcerer with magic missile. Both attacks are limited - the longbow attacks are limited by the number of arrows, and the sorcerer is limited by the amount of spell slots or magic points they have. Both attacks are also ranged, so advantages of the attack are basically the same. Magic missile's ability to auto hit counter's the sorcerer's lower BAB (although, personally, as combat spellcasters I'd argue for sorcerers to have rogue BAB progression anyway, to help differentiate them further from wizards). Both combatants can be considered unarmed other than their primary weapons, so when they run out of uses, they have to fall back on unarmed attacks where neither have an inherent advantage.

While you continue to argue that it is fighters with reusuable specific abilities vs. spellcasters with unreliable non-specific abilities, your argument remains flawed, because you are comparing a specific group with a non-specific group. Spellcasters make up the majority of D&D classes, so lumping them together to compare them to fighters in such a way is always going to be flawed.

Even if, ultimately, the whole point of such comparison is to prove that the comparison itself is impossible and therefore the argument fails. You have to set such comparisons up fairly - if you aren't doing that, then of course the comparisons are going to be impossible.

rabindranath72
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Re: Burn spell slots, burn! - eliminating spell idiocy -

Post by rabindranath72 » Sun Sep 25, 2011 6:35 pm

From what you wrote it seems I have not been clear enough. Let me try again:
I am not comparing the fighter and the magic-user AT ALL. They fill different niches due to the different abilities they wield. And THAT'S ALL. Is that better? So my comparison criterion is: you cannot compare them. In mathematical and formal terms, they are two different types.
So, I have done my part; it's your turn: would you be so kind as to provide a meaningful answer to what you mean. Inb other terms: WHAT'S YOUR POINT? That your MP system is better than slots? Or what?
I stand my "faulty argument": fighter and magic-user are "balanced" by design, and different XP tables; they cannot be compared to each other because they fill different niches; in their different niches they provide different gaming experiences, and different measures of flexibility w.r.t. the "space" of the game; and note that I specifically wrote about FIGHTERS and MAGIC-USERS; not FIGHTERS vs. SPELLCASTERS. Because there are some classes which provide both to some extent, and obviously they do not fully embrace both aspects. Why not? Because of GAME BALANCE.
"Balance" is proved through gaming, trial and error, so no faulty pseudo-logic like you provide gives a straight answer. Gygax provided the basics of the game about 40 years ago, and it has stood the test of time quite well, judging from the existence of this place.
Mathematical game theory is a complex topic which you cannot address in a few posts, and you surely cannot provide a formal analysis for a roleplaying game. Now, if you want to play the game of logic and fallacy, we can go on: I am armed with a PhD in mathematics, so things should prove interesting. :lol:

Oh, and your comparison is clearly FAULTY:
That said, a much more apt comparison is a fighter armed with a longbow and a sorcerer with magic missile. Both attacks are limited - the longbow attacks are limited by the number of arrows, and the sorcerer is limited by the amount of spell slots or magic points they have.
Why? Take this situation: a battle which lasts the whole day. A 1st level fighter and a 1st level sorcerer join it. The fighter is really an archer, he stands in the back. He has got 200 arrows planted on the ground, he takes them and fires them. How many magic missiles can the 1st level sorcerer cast? 1? 10? 20? Oh well. (oh, and this fact happened in a recent campaign.)
And why they can't be compared? Because they fill different niches. If I have to go into battle for a full day, I will take a fighter. If I need to charm a king and take control of a kingdom (even at first level!) I will take a magic-user.

EDIT:
Hmmm I have edited this post ten times. Though post. On hindsight, I should not have answered at all. Truth is, I am not trying (nor was before, despite what you said) to "prove" anything (and I am not sure what are you trying to "prove" either.)
I was simply stating some self-evident facts. At least, self-evident to anyone who has played any edition of D&D (with the possible exception of the 4th.) Let's call them axioms.
I also realise the tone looks snarky, when it was meant to be tongue-in-cheek.

So I think I am going to bail out of this "discussion", unless you can provide some meaningful (i.e. true, gaming-related) examples, and not some pseudo-logic-based proof (just so we are both on the same page: I can spot a real proof, when I see one; it's my job, after all.) The above example was clearly faulty, made invalid by an actual case.

Davane
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Re: Burn spell slots, burn! - eliminating spell idiocy -

Post by Davane » Sun Sep 25, 2011 9:37 pm

A battle lasts a whole day. A first level fighter (archer) and a first level sorcerer (ranged caster) join them. Then we get to the break points, and the issues of balance.

200 arrows? There's the cost of arrows and the bow - what you are doing here is balancing a class based on economic factors, which as we know is a circumstantial variable, and therefore not exactly perfect. Your example proves this point adequately - the archer can always get more arrows, but the sorcerer, when they run out of MP, they are done, and they don't get any more.

So, if the archer can have 200 arrows stuck in the ground, why can't the sorcerer have four wands of magic missile (4 x 50 = 200). As long as the number of arrows and the number of missiles are the same, they can be compared, but the moment you start changing the factors, things start getting funky.

This is, and always will be the problem with spellcasters, they are limited in power compared to combat classes because they don't have ways to regain or reuse their abilities over and over, because their abilities aren't balanced properly. This is the issue with 4th Edition. 4th Edition turned all the classes into the same style, but giving all classes access to special abilities that work like spells, and by giving them attacks that can be used over and over, even if they are magical. The 4th Edition Fighter's higher level abilities play like a spellcaster, while the Wizard's minor and at will attack abilities play like they are just slinging a sword or firing a bow over and over.

While I agree with the different niches argument, the fact that you have to use equipment and situational circumstances to reach it are what causes the concern, especially when the gameplay of most games basically relates to focus on single encounters that favour the magic user. Sure, at low levels the magic user might only do one thing with magic in the entire combat with their 1 magic point, but that one thing can end the combat, and few combats last more than one round anyway. It's only when you deliberately hamper one class or the other that you stop being able to compare them - you draw out a combat and deprive a magic user the ability to rest, and he's going to suffer. Likewise, if you deprive an archer of his weapons and ammunition, he's going to suffer.

It's important to understand that both are extremely valid strategies in resource management for balance, because ammunition is the same as magic points. Of course a 1st level archer and a 1st level sorcerer isn't going to be balanced when you are giving one the ability to make 200 attacks and the other to make only 1 in a given situation by controlling what resources they have access to.

This comparison is not faulty - it is accurate and entirely consistent in it's core essence - each is a ranged attack with a limiting factor. However, the limiting factors are different, and it is the limiting factors that are not balanced. 200 arrows = 1 MP? If that was balanced, the 200 bow attacks would equal 1 magic missile attack or similar 1st level spell in damage, but this is not the case. Fundamentally, it's not that the logic is wrong, it's that the specific factors are not balanced.

This is a standard gameplay mechanic for many tabletop roleplaying games, video games, board games, card games, and war games. If none of those count as real proof then I suggest you go look again what real game design is about.

[Edit: Oh, and for the record, you may have a PhD in mathematics, but I have a degree is socio-psychology and expertise is game design, including maths, so I don't just know about the mathematical principles of game theory, I know about game design as games design. So, feel free to bring it on... let's just keep it civil, okay? Apparently people get the impression I am too confrontational. If you want to do this, we do this for fun. :D ]

Tronix02
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Re: Burn spell slots, burn! - eliminating spell idiocy -

Post by Tronix02 » Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:42 pm

Personally, I enjoy the dichotomy of the Wizard and Sorceror. Just think about the in-game implications of spell slots.

A wizard and sorceror are working together in a party. The wizard has to get up extra early in the morning, whip out the book, and cast all of his spells halfway, drawing all the powers one needs to formulate them. If you suppose Wizards use the more Hermetic type magic system of the real world, this means they are letting the elements know "Hey guys, I think I'm going to need to be able to throw some fireballs, teleport people, and move stuff with my mind today. Can you grant me that power for a time?" The wizard is a regular, mortal man who has studied the commentaries, findings, and theories of many magical people before him. Depending on hwo you think of mgaic, all wizards learned how to do these incredible things from the language of the gods, or the science of magical energies, or the ability of the human mind to influence reality. These findis are written down into spells that anyone with the knowledge and displine and concentration to cast.

And then, at about 10:00am, the Sorceror finally crawls out of bed. He scrathes his ass, cleans the boogers out of his eyes, flicks them off his fingers (into the wizards ink well, of course), and says goodbye to the three volumptous barmiads from the night before. Then he gathers up the party and teleports away after saying some grabbled, incorrect form of the incantation. The wizard is pissed.

Sorcerors are not "mortal". They have angel blood or demon blood or dragon blood. Their linage has ancient pacts attached to it. They were born on just the right day, or they were exposed to magical energy in the womb, or they even wished for their power. And there it is. No thinking, no memorzing. Just practice. How could this be balanced?

Here's how. Suppose the sorceror's family did indeed have a pact. What if he violated that pact, would he lose his powers? What if he come from a line of sorceror-nobility, and they enspelled all their kids from day zero to follow that honor code on pain of losing magic. What if he is demon blooded, wont that mean he might be hunted (or wanted by those demonoid relatives?) What if the sorceror tries to cast a spell to big for his britches, will it fail? These are questions that can be answered with smiple house rules that all the while make the sorceror more interesting.

And another thing: Wizards, with their greater knowledge of how things work, can indeed mix and match and mash up known spells into different ones (hence the metamagic feats and the ability to create new spells). They also have contacts, and knowledge scores out the butt, and may in fact be superior stategists BECUASE they have to plan their spells. In 3e, Wizard also can cast more spells than a Sorceror at a time, so smart bad guys might exhaust a sorceror quickly with summoned monsters, illusions, and goons, and then whip out the nasty on the rest of the party.

And since a wizard knows more things and communicates with higher powers, he may have better contacts than a sorceror. There are ways to make this work.

All in all though, taking the wizard out of D&D doesn't make the game un fun though. Neither does taking out the sorceror. D&D is great, and we love it so, becuase for all its rules it is suprisingly flexible.

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