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Perch
2017-07-04, 02:42 PM
I have got to say that for some reason magic system that have evil gods or cosmic creatures as the source of magic and/or divided their magic with colors, having a specific color for each specific energy are my favorite.

I always loved those ideas and itís has shaped my conceptions and influenced my own settings.

The list of my favorite magic system would be:
-War hammer.
-Eternal darkness
-Magic the gathering.

Warhammer and Eternal darkness have both, evil energy source and different colors for different forms of magic.

Magic the gathering only has the second; each mana has a specific color that is associated with.

How about you guys?

BWR
2017-07-04, 04:28 PM
Do you mean mechanics or flavor?

Honorable mention to D&D's Vancian system in either case.

Off the top of my head:

Mechanics: Ars Magica
AM has a very detailed system that is flexible and with clearly defined limits. Trying to do stuff outside those limits is possible but can get iffy. Either way it is fun to play the mechanics of it. The setting is only middling plus, but I've been lucky to have a great group.

Fluff: Laundry Files
Technically a novel series first, magic is math and follows strict mathematical principals. The short version is Plato was sort of right about form and ideals ideals, and math is the purest ideal, and you can use math and computation to create tiny gates into other universes with a staggering variety of natural laws. If you are lucky and careful you get a cool effect, like almost anything you can imagine. If you are unlucky you turn yourself into an infections zombie, or just summon Yog-Sothtoth and start the end of the world. In either case, unless you use computers or have other special protection your brain is slowly nibbled by extra-dimensional horrors, resulting in a progressive, uncurable state similar KJD.
The mechanics in the BRP game are basically a mess, however.

Scots Dragon
2017-07-04, 04:34 PM
I kinda like the Ritual Path Magic system from GURPS, as well as its immediate predecessors Mage: The Ascension and Mage: The Awakening, even if they're somewhat mechanically awkward to work with on occasion.

That being said, I kinda feel like magic itself is one of those things that ought to be more judged based on how well it fits the specific setting than being judged in a vacuum. AD&D's weird Vancian system with its complex formulae and need to spend hours studying and researching new spells is extremely fitting for the worlds of AD&D, but kinda falters if you try and apply it to other worlds which have a different feel or tone.

2D8HP
2017-07-04, 11:49 PM
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-CUGACO3WRXE/To5KSQ7_8_I/AAAAAAAAguo/aLnlf1ehXgg/s400/rpg-Stormbringer.jpg

Chaosium's old Stormbringer! (http://siskoid.blogspot.com/2011/10/rpgs-that-time-forgot-stormbringer.html?m=1) game had a "magic system" based on summoning and attempting to control demons and elementals. It was completely BADASS! and I thought it was truer to Swords and Sorcery than D&D.
The main flaw as a game was that it's random character typically generated made PC's with very wide power-levels (more so than D&D) so you'd wind up with a party of one mighty sorcerer and four drooling begger "sidekicks".

I believe that Chaosium's latest version of
Basic Roleplaying (http://www.chaosium.com/basic-roleplaying/)
has a point buy option that you can drop in, and I believe the latter "Magic World" system is based on the same shell.
Magic World (free pdf "quick start) (http://www.chaosium.com/content/FreePDFs/Magic%20World/Magic%20World%20Quickstart.pdf), was designed to use "Runequest like rules, but with a gonzo D&D feel".

But my favorite "system" is from 1985 with all but the 4th edition of Pendragon which was authored by Greg Stafford, which is no system at all, instead there was a list of "tropes" for the GM to use, as none of the PC's played Spellcasters! All magic was NPC only except that some non-knight PC's could inherit the ability to make a magic potion. Once you quantify it, magic ceases to be "magical". Pendragon is not Swords and Sorcery, it's "Gawain and the Green Knight" or "The Mabinogoin" rather than "Conan" or the "Grey Mouser".

Pex
2017-07-05, 01:37 AM
Ars Magica

The mechanics and fluff fit well together. I find it fun to do, to create your spell portfolio, and learn how all the parts fit together.

NichG
2017-07-05, 04:34 AM
So far my favorite magic system has been a custom bit of homebrew that one GM stuck onto a all-World-of-Darkness-mashup campaign. Each metal could be activated to produce a specific kind of low-level effect in its vicinity, specified by fluff rather than specific mechanics. So e.g. lead would make things heavier, aluminum would reduce the effects of momentum on a thing's motion, tin would animate actuated mechanical structures, etc. By putting those effects together in different patterns, you could make all sorts of magical items, golems, wands, augmented weapons, whatnot. It required a lot of GM oversight, but it was very versatile - we made kinetic shields, shock rods, animated digging machines, power armor, flying machines, etheric laser pistols, etc just by combining the basic effects.

Blacky the Blackball
2017-07-06, 06:01 AM
Another vote for Ars Magica here. It's hands-down the best magic system in any RPG.

Anonymouswizard
2017-07-06, 11:10 AM
Ars Magica wins. To me the mechanics are a tad meh (I'm still not 100% sure how to judge spell levels, it feels more like an art than I'd like), the way it interacts with the fluff perfectly (and can do so even more, imagine curing someone's illness by giving them more black bile*), the way that it can be customised to your mage (and has to be with 5e's mandatory hermetic flaw), and the sheer flexibility makes it just fun. Imagine a group including four mages, one attempting to generate a ring that'll store magic, a pyromancer looking into the pure nature of fire, an ex-hedge mage trying to unite the study of the elements, and one trying to emulate true divine miracles.

I'm giving second place to Conjuring from Victoriana. It focuses around the creation of one use talismans, with guidelines for what a Conjurer should be allowed to prepare before an adventure, and is supposed to represent charms and folk medicine. As a bonus it solidifies it's witchcraft status by being the magic system that allows you to bind animals as familiars for a year and a day, compared to the more 'academic' thaumaturgy (and it's variants).

* There should be eight basic disease healing spells, one that increases and one that decreases for each humour.

ericgrau
2017-07-06, 01:15 PM
Hero Quest, the old board game. Wizard got 9 spells in 3 elements, elf got 3 of equal power in the remaining element. You burn a spell, that's it, it's gone. Every spell is different. Dungeon was long enough that the elf had to budget his spells. Fun for strategizing. Kinda like Vancian for the same reason except at high level you have so many options it doesn't really work. Plus you often can pick up non-unique options. And there's so much overlap it doesn't really force you to be thematic via schools or any other way. And there's no way you can make a gish the same way without nova issues in D&D. So yeah, would be cool to see something similar to Hero Quest for an rpg that could handle the scaling issues that come with leveling and varying dungeon size.

MtG has many of the same pros and cons, as do many other systems. Would be cool if something eventually pulled off a thematic yet unique spell-ed and budgeted spell system.

Psikerlord
2017-07-06, 06:11 PM
I love the fluff behind shadowrun's magic.

I also like magic to be inherently unpredictable or dangerous. Not tooooo unpredictable, but just enough that things could go horribly wrong if you're quite unlucky. Generally this also tends to suggest that magic is somehow tainted or cursed, or that there is a price to be paid for magic - that sort of thing.

Knaight
2017-07-06, 06:32 PM
I generally like Noun-Verb magic systems, with Ars Magica being the standard example of the form. However, as this is in the RPG section I'm going to have to bring up REIGN. It's got a bunch that I generally dislike (individually codified spells being the top offender), but it also has a set of really cool magical traditions, tied to organizations with a long institutional history, which lets the magic system feed into really interesting mage characters incredibly naturally.

stack
2017-07-06, 06:34 PM
Spheres of Power (3pp PF) for me. Though I haven't played muh outside 3.PF in general. I don't recall exactly how magic worked in the old (20+ years ago) LOTR rpg.

Max_Killjoy
2017-07-06, 06:35 PM
Haven't found one I really like yet, they all have issues.

But I do know that the further from Vancian it is, the less chance there is I'll hate it.

Quertus
2017-07-07, 12:34 AM
WoD Mage is probably my favorite, on paper. In practice, my experiences have included things like the storyteller not even letting me use rotes straight out of the book, because he didn't view magic working that way.

In practice, 2e Wild Magic was loads of fun, with random catastrophic success just a die roll away. Especially when you add in custom spell research, Skills & Powers, and True Dwoemers, 2e Wild Magic was the best.

Paradox, a homebrew a friend of mine made, was fun, but very GM dependent. The magic could, in theory, do anything, but, succeed or fail, the cost was determined by what you attempted. The reason I've never met another GM whom I'd trust to run the system is that I've never met anyone else whose on the fly costs for odd, off the wall effects so consistently made me respond, "sounds reasonable".

What do all three systems have in common? Hmmm... custom spell research (or even creating spells / effects on the fly), custom item creation, multiple valid character concepts / builds kept it fresh, magic felt magical and wondrous, magic had a cost and/or chance for failure and/or side effects (not always a bane) from failure.

Mutazoia
2017-07-07, 12:42 AM
Personally I was always fond of

https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0235/5929/products/grr1707_451_1024x1024.jpeg?v=1369985623 (https://greenroninstore.com/products/true-sorcery-pdf)

The system let's you craft your own spells, craft one-shot magic items, etc.

Lord Raziere
2017-07-07, 01:06 AM
Hm.

I'd say Mage: The Ascensions is one of my favorites, I definitely like it over Awakening's or Vancian casting because its so integrated into the setting and can take so many forms. If I'm going to play a system for ultimate magical wizardly power it would be Mage: The Ascensions. (but then again my opinion of OWoD in general upon reading M20 and V20 is that the CoD versions are pale shadows of much more awesome settings in general)

For balance, it'd be Spheres of Power of course. flexible for many concepts but doesn't allow for weird hax combos, which I like.

For divine badassery, I'd say Godbound miracles system, simple and can be used to emulate Exalted's divine badassery very well, just pick your domains and miracles and be awesome.

Anonymouswizard
2017-07-07, 02:40 AM
WoD Mage is probably my favorite, on paper. In practice, my experiences have included things like the storyteller not even letting me use rotes straight out of the book, because he didn't view magic working that way.

oWoD or nWoD/CofD? Or essentially, Ascension or Awakening. Because if this is Mage the Ascension, than that's a bit silly. Of course it doesn't matter how he views magic working, it's your character's Paradigm that does!

(I suspect this is half the reason Ascension doesn't have the massive number of book-rotes that Awakening does. In Awakening although it's flavoured differently you all are using the same core magic system, while with Ascension each character is using a different system that has been made to relate to the others by including the same categorisation of effects. This goes to the point that what a Etherite can do with Forces is completely different to what a member of the Celestial Choir can do, but uses the same order of effects.)


(but then again my opinion of OWoD in general upon reading M20 and V20 is that the CoD versions are pale shadows of much more awesome settings in general)

I certainly got that for most of the original three (except Forsaken, I found it to take the basic concept and give another interesting spin). However, Changeling is a completely different game and much better in the CofD for most people, there's a bit of a backlash on CofD Demon, and Hunter is at least seen as more honest in CofD (that being 'you are a human with potentially slightly special stuff' rather than oWoD's 'you have been empowered by mysterious beings to hunt'). Then there's Geist, which is massively different to Wraith, and the two Mummy games of which the only one that interests me is MtC. Oh, and 2e completely saved Requiem for me and made it interesting, so there's that.


For divine badassery, I'd say Godbound miracles system, simple and can be used to emulate Exalted's divine badassery very well, just pick your domains and miracles and be awesome.

I haven't been able to read the book fully yet, but I remember it being a nice system that could at least in theory put the warriors and scholars on an equal footing by making everyone as divine. It's likely what I'd use for an Exalted-esque game.

(Also might look into the non-free version at some point, we'll see how it goes.)

Quertus
2017-07-07, 05:47 AM
oWoD or nWoD/CofD? Or essentially, Ascension or Awakening. Because if this is Mage the Ascension, than that's a bit silly. Of course it doesn't matter how he views magic working, it's your character's Paradigm that does!

Hmmm... I've played both. And, while I'm pretty sure it was oWoD / Ascension, I'd contend it could be pretty silly in both, given how rote-centric nWoD is.

Anonymouswizard
2017-07-07, 05:57 AM
Hmmm... I've played both. And, while I'm pretty sure it was oWoD / Ascension, I'd contend it could be pretty silly in both, given how rote-centric nWoD is.

Of course, it's just silly in oWoD for a more fun reason.

I should really look into Awakening 2e, I love Ascension but find that I personally side with the Technocracy, I respect their goals (safety and stability for humanity) a more than the Traditions (which is 'power for all' and 'freedom of expression', which are cool but don't lend themselves towards a long term plan), and apart from not really getting why Death has to be it's own Arcana beyond zombies and splitting good Fate from bad Fate I feel like I could get behind the good guys in Awakening more.

Max_Killjoy
2017-07-07, 07:15 AM
Of course, it's just silly in oWoD for a more fun reason.

I should really look into Awakening 2e, I love Ascension but find that I personally side with the Technocracy, I respect their goals (safety and stability for humanity) a more than the Traditions (which is 'power for all' and 'freedom of expression', which are cool but don't lend themselves towards a long term plan), and apart from not really getting why Death has to be it's own Arcana beyond zombies and splitting good Fate from bad Fate I feel like I could get behind the good guys in Awakening more.

Every faction in oWoD Mage had a point, but was so absolutist and arrogant about it that they took it to a ridiculous extreme. Never looked at nWoD Mage-- I took one look at what Requiem had done to the system and setting of Vampire, and said "NOPE".

Tetsubo 57
2017-07-07, 02:37 PM
The Pathfinder psionics rules by Dreamscarred Press.

RazorChain
2017-07-07, 05:02 PM
WoD Mage is probably my favorite, on paper. In practice, my experiences have included things like the storyteller not even letting me use rotes straight out of the book, because he didn't view magic working that way.

In practice, 2e Wild Magic was loads of fun, with random catastrophic success just a die roll away. Especially when you add in custom spell research, Skills & Powers, and True Dwoemers, 2e Wild Magic was the best.

Paradox, a homebrew a friend of mine made, was fun, but very GM dependent. The magic could, in theory, do anything, but, succeed or fail, the cost was determined by what you attempted. The reason I've never met another GM whom I'd trust to run the system is that I've never met anyone else whose on the fly costs for odd, off the wall effects so consistently made me respond, "sounds reasonable".

What do all three systems have in common? Hmmm... custom spell research (or even creating spells / effects on the fly), custom item creation, multiple valid character concepts / builds kept it fresh, magic felt magical and wondrous, magic had a cost and/or chance for failure and/or side effects (not always a bane) from failure.

Then you would probably like the Ars Magica system. Lion Rampant which was founded by Mark Rein-Hagen and Jonathan Tweet which published Ars Magica merged with White Wolf Magazine in 1990. The result was World of Darkness and you can clearly see the effects of Ars Magica in Mage:The Ascension in the magic system and even in the WoD world because in a sense WoD was a continuation of the medieval Ars Magica world. Tremere is for example one of the Houses of Magic in Ars Magica that turns to vampirism and the Order of Hermes from Ars Magica is one of the traditions in Mage:The Ascension.

As for the original question: In my opinion Ars Magica wins hands down and has probably inspired lots of other system. It lays down clear laws of magic and improvising spells is lot of fun. It puts lots of focus on magic item creation and spell research. It is the best system the gets the essence of being a mage and why you are holed up in that tower of yours (or whatever).

Honorable mention goes to the Huckster magic system in Deadlands just for the fun of trying to draw the best poker hand and avoiding the black joker :smallsmile:

Max_Killjoy
2017-07-07, 05:09 PM
Then you would probably like the Ars Magica system. Lion Rampant which was founded by Mark Rein-Hagen and Jonathan Tweet which published Ars Magica merged with White Wolf Magazine in 1990. The result was World of Darkness and you can clearly see the effects of Ars Magica in Mage:The Ascension in the magic system and even in the WoD world because in a sense WoD was a continuation of the medieval Ars Magica world. Tremere is for example one of the Houses of Magic in Ars Magica that turns to vampirism and the Order of Hermes from Ars Magica is one of the traditions in Mage:The Ascension.

As for the original question: In my opinion Ars Magica wins hands down and has probably inspired lots of other system. It lays down clear laws of magic and improvising spells is lot of fun. It puts lots of focus on magic item creation and spell research. It is the best system the gets the essence of being a mage and why you are holed up in that tower of yours (or whatever).

Honorable mention goes to the Huckster magic system in Deadlands just for the fun of trying to draw the best poker hand and avoiding the black joker :smallsmile:

Is Ars Magica (the version from that era) still available somehow?

Knaight
2017-07-07, 05:12 PM
Is Ars Magica (the version from that era) still available somehow?

I'm not sure it's from that era, but the edition changes aren't that big and there is an older edition that was released as a free .pdf (http://www.warehouse23.com/products/ars-magica-4th-edition-core-rulebook) a few years ago.

RazorChain
2017-07-07, 05:45 PM
Sorry to say I've never seen the 1st editition pdf for free but as Knaight posted the 4th edition is for free.

I started to play 2nd/3rd edition and own 5th edition and the changes arent drastic.

https://www.nobleknight.com/resize.aspx?filename=LRTArsMagica1E.jpg&width=0&height=0

Arbane
2017-07-07, 05:56 PM
I wouldn't want to use it for heroic fantasy, but Unknown Armies has a magic system that works very well for the setting - modern-day dangerously obsessed lowlife trying to get a taste of power in the Occult Underground. To be a spellcaster in UA, your character NEEDS to be so obsessed with something (history, money, machinery, alcohol, porn) that they'd shank their own mother over it. And each type of magic has a taboo which will lose the caster ALL their stored-up magic power if broken, so it's a system where being a reasonably-sane normal person has some notable advantages.

Anonymouswizard
2017-07-08, 04:02 AM
I wouldn't want to use it for heroic fantasy, but Unknown Armies has a magic system that works very well for the setting - modern-day dangerously obsessed lowlife trying to get a taste of power in the Occult Underground. To be a spellcaster in UA, your character NEEDS to be so obsessed with something (history, money, machinery, alcohol, porn) that they'd shank their own mother over it. And each type of magic has a taboo which will lose the caster ALL their stored-up magic power if broken, so it's a system where being a reasonably-sane normal person has some notable advantages.

I love Adepts because they're explicitly insane as a prerequisite for having their powers (compared to Avatars, who can be completely sane), but like real life insane people there's a range from 'completely self sufficient' to 'needs a bit of support' to 'cannot be trusted in society' (Thanatomancers, I'm looking at you). They even manage to make 'you get magic from self harm' not come across as needlessly edgy, it fits right in among the entropomancers who risk death, the bibliomancers who are just so obsessed with books, and the urbanomancers who really like their city.

It's also lovely how you become an Adept: you snap. You hit five failed notches on a madness meter and decide, consciously or unconsciously, to focus your madness on something. Don't try the same trick twice though, that sends you off the deep end.

UA also has the best insanity system I've ever seen in an RPG, the same one used by Nemesis. It's not a downward spiral, it tracks several types of mad, and you can get resilience at the cost of creeping people out with your detachment (hardened notches).

The Random NPC
2017-07-08, 10:08 AM
I'm a big fan the d20 BESM Slayers magic system. It's a modified version of the D&D system, only everyone with an Int bonus gets spell levels equal to the bonus. When you cast a spell you have to make a Fort save or take nonlethal damage, taking half damage on success. You can also yell out the name of the spell, take lethal damage, or take a full round to cast the spell to get a +5 bonus each on the Fort save. I believe there's also a system in place for casting the spell successfully even if the damage kills you.

JellyPooga
2017-07-09, 03:17 PM
I like my magic system to be;

- Skill based. There should be a chance of failing to cast and I want to be able to get good at particular spells or at least groups of spells.

- Tiring. Magic should take effort, physically and/or mentally. Ideally the latter first, then the former. Taken to extremes, I want to be able to risk death if my mage pushes himself too far.

- Risky. Failing at magic should be inherently risky. I want a reason for young apprentices to get warnings about not trying to cast spells that are beyond them. I also want grand masters to have a reason to have protective circles, wards and sigils before attempting their most powerful magic; whether the risk is from extraplanar gribblies, self-destruction from power-overload or whatever, I want magic to be dangerous if taken lightly.

- Logical. It just makes sense that in order to lob balls of magical exploding fire, you need to learn to create fire/heat first. "High level" spells should have simpler spells as prerequisites.

GURPS provides the tools for all these.

Max_Killjoy
2017-07-09, 03:32 PM
I like my magic system to be;

- Skill based. There should be a chance of failing to cast and I want to be able to get good at particular spells or at least groups of spells.

- Tiring. Magic should take effort, physically and/or mentally. Ideally the latter first, then the former. Taken to extremes, I want to be able to risk death if my mage pushes himself too far.

- Risky. Failing at magic should be inherently risky. I want a reason for young apprentices to get warnings about not trying to cast spells that are beyond them. I also want grand masters to have a reason to have protective circles, wards and sigils before attempting their most powerful magic; whether the risk is from extraplanar gribblies, self-destruction from power-overload or whatever, I want magic to be dangerous if taken lightly.

- Logical. It just makes sense that in order to lob balls of magical exploding fire, you need to learn to create fire/heat first. "High level" spells should have simpler spells as prerequisites.



I can get behind all of these as general concepts.

Zale
2017-07-10, 05:17 AM
Outside of tabletop RPGs, one of my favorite magic systems was from a MUD based on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series.

The game essentially had four types of magic:

Arcane Magic, which had a lot of "D&D" style effects. It was big, flashy and had some of the best utility spells. It was also rather more tiring than..

Mental Magic, which was mostly telekinesis with the occasional telepathy sort of thing. It was much less effective than Arcane Magic in most ways, but also cheaper.

There were two types of "Aligned" magic, being Good and Evil. (Or maybe Light and Dark? It's been a while). The Evil Magic offered incredibly effective attack spells, typically ones that were flatly better than anything else offered. Meanwhile, the Good Magic was mostly protective and healing based.

The real thing that made this click was that most forms of magic are addictive. Arcane Spells can make your character slowly become addicted to the rush of cast spells. An invisible attribute basically ticked up whenever you used magic, which ticked down slowly. However, if you went to long without casting a spell, you might start to suffer withdrawal symptoms. These ranged from things like shivering to your character dry heaving or dropping things from muscle spasms.

This created a real risk/opportunity thing with abusing magic, in which too much could mean you'd have to either constantly cast spells or go cold turkey to get back to normal.

Mental Magic, however, didn't increase addictiveness- so you could use the much weaker, if safer, form of magic. However, that might result in you getting destroyed by wandering demons or vampires.

Aligned Magic also introduced a similar dynamic. It wasn't available early on to characters, but opened up once they attained a certain level of magical skill. Good Magic decreased your addiction rather than increasing it, meaning that those who devoted their power more towards helping or utility could achieve a certain level of homeostasis. Meanwhile, Evil Magic was even more addictive than normal magic, but so effective that it was still extremely tempting to use.

Additionally, both kinds of Aligned Magic would tilt your characters towards the "Good-Evil" bar, which would bar them from using Magic of the opposite spectrum. You would slowly return to a neutral alignment, but it took so long that my character never experienced it.

The thing I liked most about this magic system is probably the fact that using the Dark and Evil powers is much more effective than normal magic, even if it comes at great personal cost. It always bothers me in games when "Evil Magic" is so obviously worse than normal magic. If they're the same, then why would anyone be tempted to abuse the Dark Arts?

wumpus
2017-07-10, 08:54 AM
I loved the concept of Stormbringer, but doubt it works well in practice (there was a 3.5e splatbook with a similar magic system).

While it might not be great on its own, I'd like to commend Dungeons and Dragons Online for creating a "fixed" magic system for 3.5. Some key facets:

Spell points: while DDO cranks the power level (of all characters and mobs) to "Eberon", this doesn't mean it is easy to recover spell points. There are limited "rest shrines" that allow for proper D&D rest (they are mechanically forced, but avoid the "one fight and one rest per day" exploit). Unfortunately, pay2win does come into play in buying "mana pots". But overall an "out of mana" caster was a waste of a party slot until you got to the next rest shrine (this was less true after enhancement spell-like-abilities).

colored name bosses: bosses have names (carefully color coded with resistances). The more powerful the boss, the more "save or die"/"save or lose" spells they are resistant to. You can use all the necromancy you want to kill off the mooks, but expect a real fight with the bosses.

Blasting works: thanks to the above, sorcerers were often effective characters (depending on the ebb and flow of nerfs/buffs). It even made plenty of sense for warforged (remember - Eberon) to eat the charisma penalty (which is higher in DDO thanks to racial advancements/enhancements) for self-healing (I've been away for years, I suspect that cross-class epic abilities are preferred now).

In fight healing is often key: of course, this sometimes falls out of favor as clerics are nerfed and the population builds self-healing skills, but in general a cleric can greatly aid the party by healing in fight (traditionally required in raids). It sometimes took work to convince players from WoW that clerics were supposed to swing a mace/cast cc spells as well, but they certainly could use in-fight healing to great help (fights took awhile).

Melee still mattered: (most of the time, obviously the nerf/buff cycle had its effects). While sorcerers could do amazing burst damage, if you really wanted to increase damage output (slower but steadier) you buffed and healed the melee types. This meant that Turbine/SSG could fix the melee/caster balance by increasing/decreasing difficulty (either by modifying monster hit points or damage output).

I've wondered if the whole thing could be brought to the tabletop. Something this high-powered would probably require two sets of poker chips to represent your "red bar (hit points)" and "blue bar (spell points)".