View Full Version : How do they know?

2007-04-09, 12:21 AM
In a campaign I'm playing in, a player is an Incarnate. He recently leveled up, which brought up an interesting question....

How does he know he can shape 5 soulmelds now, instead of 4? Does that knowledge just come to him when he awakes?

This isn't just about melpshapers (though, they serve as a good base). How do Clerics and Wizards know they can cast 3rd level spells? How do sorcerers manifest a spell that was too powerful for them the day before?

In short, how do these people realize their newfound power?

Oh, and, as a side note, wouldn't it be weird if Sorcerer spells were picked by rolling, not player choice? Then, the spells would actually naturally manifest, being totally random, or "naturally" developed. Just a strange thought I thought up. Wouldn't be much fun, though, I guess.

Viscount Einstrauss
2007-04-09, 12:25 AM
There's a god in the etherial plain who's sole job is to telepathically tell casters about their powers when they obtain them. The casters think they come up with this themselves, but it's really that god's doing. He also grants sorcerers spells based on what he can tell they really desire, since he's already inside the ether and has a good place to manipulate their power.

2007-04-09, 12:26 AM
Clerics is simple, it's what their deity gives them.
Arcane probably takes a new degree of expertise only realized at certain points that levels only roughly reflect, and since it needs to be laid out in game terms, logic has to be sacrificed.

For that alternative to Sorcerer, that could be fun if it involved 'more'. IE: Treat all spellcasting of the sorcerer as 3 levels higher and increase the cap of spells known.

2007-04-09, 12:27 AM
It's sort of assumed that the character has been working on class abilities since the last level up. A fighter doesn't wake up ambidextrous one morning; he's been practicing with a sword in his left hand for a level or two in the background. Likewise, casters experiment/research/hone their skills until one day what they were trying starts to work.

brian c
2007-04-09, 12:33 AM
The non-"realistic" aspect of D&D leveling is that you gain a level all at once, and get all of your new abilities at once. It's supposed to be that as you gain more experience you get better at doing things, such as shaping melds (yeah i know) or using magic, or doing sneak attacks. I like to think of it that your character has been working on doing something for a while, and finally they perfect it. Meaning that when they level up, that happens when they finally mastered the art of making a new soulmeld, or have finally figured out how to cast this new spell, or finally figured out how to spring attack (or any other feat).

As for sorceror spells by rolling, that's an interesting concept but it would be horribly underpowering for the sorceror. I think sorcerors should have a say in what spells they learn; as I explained above, it represents that they've been attempting to harness magic in a particular way, and that they eventually succeed and are credited with learning the spell.

Edit: I have a ninja avatar, but my_evil_twin is the ninja here

2007-04-09, 01:16 AM
I'd imagine over time the character has been trying and trying to use that 5th soulmeld, and one day he finally manages to do so for a long enough time be to useful.

2007-04-09, 01:36 AM
I always imagine levelling up as "becoming more capable". Which means, that they knew it all along! A 1st-level sorcerer would know about fireballs and enervation spells (ummm... empowered enervation...), but they just couldn't even cast/learn it simply because they were not capable of such things. As they experience adventures and other things, they become more and more proficient with their mastery/talent over magic, and at some point they find out that they can now do those cool things they only heard about!

Clerics, on the other hand, might be given new set of spells/abilities from their deity, but I always liked to think of it as "being more closer to the deity" or "having firmer belief in one's philosophical ideals" in case of non-deity-specific clerics.

Druids are the people of nature, of survival. While they may not serve specific deity as such, their mastery and affinity toward the force of nature becomes stronger when they "become more close to the nature" ("level up").

Of course, it still doesn't make sense that everything just hopes up at you and you just do these things. It's more like, as you level up you get to do it, but not proficiently enough to actually "gain" the ability.

Well, that's one of my how-to-explain-levelling-up-in-rp-ing-type-of-view theory. lol

p.s. Ah, you'll have to excuse me for my horrible grammar- I'm still a stranger in this daunting language! (darn! isn't English the hardest language of all?)

Edit: Added a few extra points... just to make it look... um... long?

2007-04-09, 06:34 AM
It's all part of the necessary abstraction of the game system. A wizard doesn't "know" he can learn a new "level" of spell any more than a fighter "Knows" that he has learned a new Feat.

The problem arises because while Feats are clearly not an in-character concept, spells clearly are. They therefore highlight the difficult overlap between the abstract rules and the concrete game reality more than most other things.

2007-04-09, 05:56 PM
I play my spellcasters (that includes incarnates) in a way of spiritual growth. They can't cast Fly as a lvl 4 sorcerer, but perhaps once, with great strain and draining effort, they did. Perhaps now it comes easier to them.
Slow advancement over time is the key and really isn't a problem to RP :)

2007-04-09, 06:13 PM
They know because the montage music ends and they can suddenly do all the things they couldn't a few seconds ago.

Fax Celestis
2007-04-09, 06:30 PM
They know because the montage music ends and they can suddenly do all the things they couldn't a few seconds ago.

Yup. Associated with cheesy '80s hair metal too.

L˛kki Gallansbayne
2007-04-09, 06:31 PM
Like Dan says, it's an abstraction. If we imagine the characters as being real and look at things from their point of view, they don't suddenly wake up the next day knowing how to throw fireballs or how to cleave through enemies; they've been working at it over time, as others in the thread have described. However, trying to represent absolutely every single facet of the game world would make the mechanic overly complicated, so things have to be simplified and hidden away under abstractions. One of these abstractions is rather than being able to cast any spell or use any ability but suck at it at first, you can't use those abilities until your character is competent with them to the point they can pull them off every time (or most of the time if there are rolls involved or whatever), which D&D defines as occuring on level-up.

Really, it's pointless trying too hard to justify gaining new feats and spells and things on level up in terms of the real world because it simply doesn't work that way. You can sort of kind of justify it with the sorts of things other people have been saying, but the end of the day it's not meant to be realistic. It's an abstraction of the game world meant to make the game easier and hopefully more fun to play.

2007-04-09, 07:04 PM
As far as the Arcane, I've pictured it as a sort of feeling. For a while, they felt this growing feeling when they cast that the energy called for the spell is not all being used by the spell. Thus, through trial and error, they attempt to craft a stronger spell until they eventually do so.

I would present an example that could explain this, but it's not appropriate for a board such as this. If you really want to know, send me a private message.

2007-04-09, 09:38 PM
that sorc thing is interesting, but maybe, depending on how they play / what they cast, narrow it down a bit