Friday, June 27, 2008

Where's the magic?

I just don't feel it any more. Maybe that "new car smell" has worn off of 4th ed, but I'm becoming increasingly disenchanted (pun intended) with the magic system. This past level up has been the most boring level up ever. It was just one ho-hum after another.

Now, I'm hoping that later levels will get better. The addition of the big hitter spells, err, sorry "powers" should help. But so far at least I've got very little to look forward to.

Sure, it’s nice that my wizard never runs out of his at-will powers, so he can reliably drop Scorching Bursts on bunched up enemies. Or Thunderwave them away if they get too close.

Next round? More of the same. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

I understand that their game design called for giving the melee classes something “cool” to do each round. As opposed to simply picking your target and rolling a couple of dice. Maybe, once in a while, a feat would come into play. Or some special ability from a magic item. I guess that the designers felt this was boring, for some reason.

Well, congratulations WoTC. Fourth edition has given the melee classes a bunch of powers to use every round. Now instead of just “attacking orc ‘A’ with my sword” you “attack the orc skulker ‘a’ with my at-will ‘Powerful Strike’”.

But seriously, is this really any different?

Worse yet, they’ve reduced spellcasting to the same wash-rinse-repeat cycle. Instead of carefully planning my spells and choosing just the right moment to use them, I now blast away with the same one over and over. Someone wake me when combat is over.

Oh! We leveled up? Woot. I guess. I get what? A utility power? Woopdeedoo.

The magic is gone.


Mara Jade said...

Well, about what you worte... maybe u have to give it a some more time.
I remember when i used to play AD&D (I`m only 23 years old, but i had a master that didin`t want to get the new edition).
Well... the thing is, give it a little more time, when I changed edition i lived it hard also, I thought the new edition was filled with inconvinients and too many details.
Finally I started loving it, much more than AD&D.

About the spell things... yes, they`re weird in some way, but don`t forget the system is trying to be easier, mainly because of players opinions, who told wizard of the coast heads to do it that way.

There are many strange things about this new edition, but I`m giving it a constant try. Always a second chance.

See you!!!! bye bye

Anonymous said...

I totally agree. Someone should set up a site for 4th edition resisters, so the players could advance the worlds as they saw fit, and fuck the capitalists at WotC.

Griff said...

Well, I wouldn't be so quick to tell the WoTC capitalists to fuck off. I like capitalism and hold no grudge against their desire to make a few bucks.

And Mara, I'll give you the point that I need to give this edition more time, but there will be a limit to my patience.

In other words, the PHB 2 had better rock my world.

Adam said...

Griff, remember the impending arrival of the splatter books.
You know that WoTC won't leave you wanting when that time comes. The powers will get cooler, there will be more classes (and multiclass feats) to pick from.

I do agree however that more stuff happening when gaining levels seems like something we miss from the past (ah, the joy of spending thief skill points in 2ndE) but it really is nice too. Last night my group leveled up to 3rd in no time at all! Anyway isn't all that stuff we "miss" just a bunch of paperwork getting between us and playing?

As the powers, feats, and magic item powers get cooler so too will your excitement grow.

You wont have to worry about what spells to memorize each morning ever again. Also, you wont have to worry about rolling a "1" on your HP (this can really suck!); How to "distribute" your skill points or stress about picking your feat because you will only get 10 in your whole career!

At will powers are a major advantage to the "attack monster a with my weapon". Fighters can now move a monster when hitting it, or even knock it down!("F*** improved trip I do damage and knockdown now!" - nocturnalnerd) The warlord in my group just changed her shield bash power to wolfpack tactics and now she is loving her ability to let allies shift!

At this early level, you may also be overlooking rituals which I predict will become what magic in D&D always should have been. Now I can come up with a bizzarre ritual that does incredible things but I don't have to worry about every wizard that gets made wanting to add the damn spell to his spellbook so he can cast if over and over.


The magic is there, you just have to move beyond the past to see it.



Cruces said...

I aggree and disaggree with you at the same time (and I'm pretty sure I've used too many g's or e's here but oh well)
The thing I like with the new system is that wizards actually get to do something even at low levels. In 3rd and before when you saw a pack of goblins you'd think "I'm not wasting my spells on that" and each round you would attack with your crossbow getting a -4 penalty for firing into a melee and waiting for something big to come so you can nuke it with your 1d4+1 magic missile. The excitement of playing a wizard before you got fireball was almost non existant, and even after that it felt more like what a loaded gun would feel waiting to be fired.
Now for the part that I don't like. Wizards feel like any other class, they don't have many surprizes up their sleeves as they used to, they can't be better prepared due to careful planning (most of their abilities feel to me like nukes with an extra effect). And of course the thing I hate the most is that they screwed up the illusion specialty, where is permanent illusion? where is minor image? those are the things I liked, I used them both as a gm and as a player.
Before this becomes too much of a rant I'll stop, I hope I got what I thought through.

theinternetisbig said...


I strongly suggest a good look at rituals...

Both those effects could be described nicely in new rituals. Even the things you describe as "preparation" could be done with rituals I just recently considered making a chain contingency ritual!

This is one huge thing with rituals. They are very easy to control, so they can do crazy stuff. The ONLY WAY to get them into a PC's hands is negotiate (purchase) or plunder.

Permanent image could easily be a ritual. Obviously all illusion spells would be in the deception category, using Arcana. The duration would be permanent (of course something different for the different illusions) Perhaps a 1 minute casting time. Level 8-12 seems right for permanent image. Costing maybe 1000gp.
Set the range and your done. viola!

Each type of illusion spell can be converted into a ritual for individual or widespread use. I think that this is the coolest thing about rituals.

Cruces said...

I have looked at rituals and there is a permanent image ritual there indeed, however there are no illusion spells in the wizard's arsenal, imagine a situation when the wizard is running away trying to slow down the enemy, he can't possibly cast a ten minute spell just like that.
Or let us say that he wants to escape along with his party from a prison. A minor image would do just fine and it would only take up 6 seconds to cast (with enough time to move 30 feet too). 10 minutes is just too much.
There are tons of uses for illusion spells, but it seems that their uses are not combat oriented and thus were left out of the normal powers.

Crwth said...

For illusions, Cruces, take a look at this Class Acts article -- the one that apparently some people found. *:^)