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View Full Version : 4th Ed wizards: staff, wand and orb



Belial_the_Leveler
2007-11-27, 01:43 PM
The 4th edition wizards will use staves, orbs and wands in a similar way to fighters using weapons. Is it a good thing that wizard power will be tied-to some extent at least-to items?

Fixer
2007-11-27, 01:49 PM
It doesn't appear to be tied to the items. They are optional foci.

The presence of a focus allows the wizard to make normal 'attack' rolls against whatever defense attribute their target might have. Lack of a focus might impose a small penalty but does not prevent the attack. Enchanted foci improve the attack roll.

J.Gellert
2007-11-27, 05:10 PM
To speak in 3.5 edition terms, sounds like they are improving the Save DCs.

Sounds like bad news for Gandalf, good news for Dumbledore (-type wizards).

Belial_the_Leveler
2007-11-27, 05:23 PM
But both Gandalf and Dumbledore relied on foci (staff and wand respectively) to more or less the same extent.

It doesn't bode well for Merlin and Rand Al'Thor type wizards though.

J.Gellert
2007-11-27, 05:28 PM
I had Glamdring in mind when I mentioned Gandalf - but right, Istari and their staves...

Maybe I should've said... hmm... Anime-type wizards? :smalltongue:

Wizzardman
2007-11-27, 05:29 PM
It doesn't appear to be tied to the items. They are optional foci.

The presence of a focus allows the wizard to make normal 'attack' rolls against whatever defense attribute their target might have. Lack of a focus might impose a small penalty but does not prevent the attack. Enchanted foci improve the attack roll.

In Dungeons and Dragons, "optional anything" that enhances abilities generally means "if you don't have these, you're gonna suck." Personally, I'm not really a big fan of this change. I'd rather stick with old-style wizard manipulation of the cosmos, without having to use a special gimmick to do it properly.

Wizards are also going to be placed in specific 'schools' of magical training. Not like evocation, or any of the basic schools of magic; more like 'stealthy-style mage guy', 'earth-based mage guy', that sort of thing. What do you guys think of this change?

Thinker
2007-11-27, 05:35 PM
It appears to me that with every class having a focus in battle it may make it harder to multiclass, especially for gishes. If you need an orb for your wizard abilities and a sword for your fighter abilities it may be fairly ineffective at everything compared to a straight wizard (or wizard/PrC) or a straight fighter (or fighter/PrC). There may be feats or PrC's that alleviate this, I just wonder if they thought of it.

Also consider a Rogue/Ranger multiclass. If rogues need daggers and rangers need shortswords it could gimp it. I really hope they spot this and have a way of making multiclassing remain worthwhile.

Thinker
2007-11-27, 05:36 PM
In Dungeons and Dragons, "optional anything" that enhances abilities generally means "if you don't have these, you're gonna suck." Personally, I'm not really a big fan of this change. I'd rather stick with old-style wizard manipulation of the cosmos, without having to use a special gimmick to do it properly.

Wizards are also going to be placed in specific 'schools' of magical training. Not like evocation, or any of the basic schools of magic; more like 'stealthy-style mage guy', 'earth-based mage guy', that sort of thing. What do you guys think of this change?

I kinda like the magical school training. It gives more variety, which is one thing I'm always in favor of.

Belial_the_Leveler
2007-11-27, 05:37 PM
In my campaing setting, casters (and most classes really) are separated into Order, Chaos, Mind, Shadow and Elemental power sources and flavors. I thus support the flavor classification of wizards-I never really liked them as generalists.

J.Gellert
2007-11-27, 05:37 PM
I'll like it if the stealthy-type mage-guy can use his Katana as his focus.

Harder to multiclass? That's not good, considering how they said in the Feats article that "Classes are going to be more important" and "Feats are mostly going to be adding tweaks to your class features". What if I want my wizard to play more like a fighter? I say go for more customization, not less. :smalltongue:

Edit: But then we'll get more customization sooner or later, it'll just be over the course of the next 75 or so splatbooks :smallwink:

Morty
2007-11-27, 05:38 PM
Magical school training may be good or bad, depends on how they make it. But I don't like narrowing wizard's capabilities down. And names of these schools suck.
But whatever. The removed Vancian casting for some elusive reason, so the wizards won't be as fun as those in 3.x anyway:smallannoyed:

J.Gellert
2007-11-27, 05:41 PM
Also of note: I always preferred the "It's you, not your items" approach, yet now it appears the importance of items just went up a notch.

Nerd-o-rama
2007-11-27, 05:43 PM
Magical school training may be good or bad, depends on how they make it. But I don't like narrowing wizard's capabilities down. And names of these schools suck.
Well, it's generally agreed that the reason wizards are so incredibly broken in 3.5 D&D is their incredible versatility (see: Batman comparisons). By narrowing the abilities of individual wizards, you take away some of that brokenness.

J.Gellert
2007-11-27, 05:45 PM
Well, it's generally agreed that the reason wizards are so incredibly broken in 3.5 D&D is their incredible versatility (see: Batman comparisons). By narrowing the abilities of individual wizards, you take away some of that brokenness.

Of course, provided you view it as brokenness in the first place.

Belial_the_Leveler
2007-11-27, 05:46 PM
Yeah, because WotC was always consistent with its announcements. Reminds me of the "we don't have plans for a 4th edition" thingy some months back.

And yeah, one of the reasons I played spellcasters exclusively was the fact that they didn't need a magic sword/chain/bow/dwarf-on-a-stick to be useful. I don't really like this approach except for the hilarity. Now the Orc Shaman (wizard) will actually need his Dwarf-on-a-stick (staff) to cast his spells effectively, not merely for that +5 to awesome.

illathid
2007-11-27, 05:55 PM
Actually I believe the reasoning behind this was to bring some parity between spellcasters and other classes. A fighter has to spend money not only on armor & general equipment, but on a weapon as well. Spellcasters as they are now only really have to worry about buying equipment.

Having foci means the wizard will have additional costs to consider, much like other classes.

J.Gellert
2007-11-27, 05:59 PM
You mean except costly spell components, scrolls, and outrageous costs to write down 4 pages of text on your spellbook?

Belial_the_Leveler
2007-11-27, 06:00 PM
Yeah, but supposedly they wanted to make magic items less needed for everyone, not more. :smallconfused:

tyckspoon
2007-11-27, 06:02 PM
Also of note: I always preferred the "It's you, not your items" approach, yet now it appears the importance of items just went up a notch.

It went up for wizards, certainly. Nobody has said the design intent is to let everybody function perfectly naked- the fighter still needs to carry a weapon and wear some armor, now the wizard has a similar item to worry about. The philosophy is make sure those basic items don't have to be the insanely magical artifacts that they are in 3.5; your powers are largely derived from your class, so as long as you have a sword/wand/axe/orb to use those powers with at all, you're good to fight. It shouldn't matter as much if you only have a +1 sword instead of a +5 sword of Everythingbane.

Collin152
2007-11-27, 06:15 PM
So long as tatoos and rings count. I ain't gonna haul around some stick or bulky jewel to send my foes into a hoary netherworld for all eternity!

Crow
2007-11-27, 06:58 PM
In Dungeons and Dragons, "optional anything" that enhances abilities generally means "if you don't have these, you're gonna suck." Personally, I'm not really a big fan of this change. I'd rather stick with old-style wizard manipulation of the cosmos, without having to use a special gimmick to do it properly.

Ding Ding Ding!

I hate this change. I mean hate it.

Triaxx
2007-11-27, 07:15 PM
Nah multiclassing is easy, all you need is the Feat: Eight Arms to carry all the items to make each class work. :smallbiggrin:

Zeful
2007-11-27, 07:21 PM
Actually based on the wording of the article, you don't need anything at all to cast spells.

However, you will be able to cast certain spells more effectivally with the focus. And it can be safe to assume that with the roll back on magic items and external power sorces that the bonuses will be small and not generally related to spellcasting. Of the six examples two are bonuses to spell casting.


I've spoilered the relevant article.
Magic saturates the world and all the extraordinary realms beyond the world, an intrinsic force present in literally all things. Magic transforms and alters the natural world, sometimes actively and with sudden effect, other times subtly and over long centuries.

This arcane energy source is difficult to understand and even tougher to master. Wizards do so through years of study, practice, and apprenticeship to accomplished masters.

Wizards wield arcane magic, and they recognize reality for what it is: a thin veneer of structure supported and energized by a force that is ultimately malleable, to those who know its secrets. Though research and study, wizards learn esoteric rituals that allow them to alter time and space, hurl balls of fire that incinerate massed foes, and wield spells like warriors brandish swords. They call upon lesser and greater spells to unleash raging torrents of cold, fire, or lightning, confuse and enthrall the weak-minded, or even turn invisible or walk through walls.

What sets wizards apart from others who wield arcane magic are wizardsí unique implements. Most people recognize the three most common tools associated with wizardcraft: the orb, staff, and wand.

Any wizard can use an implement to increase the effectiveness of his spells. Just as a warrior gains a benefit when attacking an enemy with a magic sword, so does a wizard benefit from using a magic orb, staff, or wand with his spellcasting. In addition, each implement focuses magic of a particular discipline or tradition more effectively than the wizard would be able to accomplish otherwise. As a result, wizards are rarely without at least one of these tools.

The orb is favored by the Iron Sigil and Serpent Eye traditions. Serpent Eye cabalists use orbs to focus powers of enchantment, beguiling, and ensnaring. The mages of the Iron Sigil, on the other hand, employ orbs to guard themselves with potent defenses when invoking spells of thunder or force.

The staff is best suited to the disciplines of the Hidden Flame and the Golden Wyvern. Servants of the Hidden Flame wield fierce powers of fire and radiance through their staves. Golden Wyvern initiates are battle-mages who use their staves to shape and sculpt the spells they cast.

The wand is a perennial favorite for wizards who favor accurate, damaging attacks. Emerald Frost adepts use wands to help channel powers of cold and deadly acidic magic, while Stormwalker theurges channel spells of lightning and force through their wands.

A wizard without an implement is like a slightly near-sighted man with glasses: The man can still see, but without his glasses, he canít read the road sign across the way. Likewise, while wizard traditions are associated with a particular implement, a wizard need not possess or hold a given implement to use a power belonging to that tradition. For instance, a wizard belonging to the Hidden Flame order can cast the fire spell cinder storm even if he doesnít own, has lost, or is not holding a magic staff. But if he does have a magic staff, it aids the accuracy of his attack, and his mastery of the Hidden Flame technique allows him to deal more damage with the spell.

Collin152
2007-11-27, 07:51 PM
It could be that a focus gives a focused benefit, while detracting proportionally to other areas slightly. If this were the case, one without a focus (Or not currently using one) would have more balanced spells, while one using a focus would have a specialised spell.

Crow
2007-11-27, 09:23 PM
It could be that a focus gives a focused benefit, while detracting proportionally to other areas slightly. If this were the case, one without a focus (Or not currently using one) would have more balanced spells, while one using a focus would have a specialised spell.

Fat chance...

Better chance it is "have this or suck at that"

Shas aia Toriia
2007-11-27, 09:32 PM
Obviously the solution to this problem is for everybody to play F.A.T.A.L :smallbiggrin:

Collin152
2007-11-27, 09:50 PM
Fat chance...

Better chance it is "have this or suck at that"

Well then, at least we have a potential house-rule bandage pre-fabricated.

OzymandiasVolt
2007-11-27, 09:56 PM
Hey, let's all complain loudly about something we don't really know the mechanics of since the details weren't actually provided, and the ones that were provided are part of a system we don't have many details about at all.

averagejoe
2007-11-27, 10:01 PM
Hey, let's all complain loudly about something we don't really know the mechanics of since the details weren't actually provided, and the ones that were provided are part of a system we don't have many details about at all.

On that note, the article says that orbs are useful for beguiling/enchantment and the like. What's with that? The obvious use for the orb is divination. Doy!

averagejoe
2007-11-27, 10:01 PM
Hey, let's all complain loudly about something we don't really know the mechanics of since the details weren't actually provided, and the ones that were provided are part of a system we don't have many details about at all.

On that note, the article says that orbs are useful for beguiling/enchantment and the like. What's with that? The obvious use for the orb is divination. Doy!

brian c
2007-11-27, 10:17 PM
Obviously the solution to this problem is for everybody to play F.A.T.A.L :smallbiggrin:

Are you trying to imply that wands and staves have phallic imagery?

Naihal
2007-11-27, 10:19 PM
An alternate possibility is that the items mentioned in the article are the equivalent of a fighter's +1 sword or a wizard's headband of intellect; they're essentially masterwork items. Any wizard can channel magic through his focus, but he won't gain benefits to his spells unless the item is masterwork. This way, wizards will have a choice after every adventure of upgrading their focus to improve their spells or using their money to buy magic item X which grants him more versatility/utility. In 3.5, a wizard might choose between upgrading his headband of intellect and purchasing some new spell scrolls with the loot he found in his last dungeon; he has the option to gain variety with his spells or improve their power.

Crow
2007-11-27, 10:22 PM
A better solution to all of this would be to move to a "you, not your gear" philosophy.

I seriously doubt that this edition will get away from the "walking magic emporium" average player character.

Naihal
2007-11-27, 10:45 PM
A better solution to all of this would be to move to a "you, not your gear" philosophy.

I seriously doubt that this edition will get away from the "walking magic emporium" average player character.

But ultimately it's not just you; your gear does play a part in your success. Even if the foci introduced are character-central devices that every wizard needs, then so what?

Wizards become more gear dependent, that's what - and what's so bad about that? It might balance out wizards to tie their success to their gear. And these items might not even be mandatory for success. They could be similar to metamagic rods, enhancing your spells but not necessary to play.

And if all else fails, rule 0 it. Simple and easy.

I'm dead on my feet, so please excuse the probable lack of quality of the above post.

Collin152
2007-11-27, 10:56 PM
I suppose I'll be content if there are more foci varieties. Like, rings, amulets, animal teeth, rattlesnake rattles, so forth.

Crow
2007-11-27, 11:13 PM
But ultimately it's not just you; your gear does play a part in your success. Even if the foci introduced are character-central devices that every wizard needs, then so what?

Wizards become more gear dependent, that's what - and what's so bad about that? It might balance out wizards to tie their success to their gear. And these items might not even be mandatory for success. They could be similar to metamagic rods, enhancing your spells but not necessary to play.

And if all else fails, rule 0 it. Simple and easy.

I'm dead on my feet, so please excuse the probable lack of quality of the above post.

The problem is, that wizards and every other class is already gear dependent. It is built into the system. If a character doesn't have 760,000 gold worth of magical goodies, then he is "underpowered" by the standards of the game. The traditional counter-point to this argument is always that wizards don't require items to kick butt, and this is partially true. But it is a result of the magic system, not the wealth system. If you require the items to kick butt, then it is your gear and not you. If you don't require items, but need them to "level the playing field" by burning the wizard's resources, then it is a pretty bandaid for the real problem, which obviously hasn't been addressed.

The solution isn't to make wizards as gear dependent as the fighters. The solution is to make the fighters not nearly as gear dependent as they currently are.

Collin152
2007-11-27, 11:21 PM
Indeed. Sure, they need sword and shield and armor, but a wizard needs his book! The key is that a fighter shouldn't need to have gaunlets of bashing, belt of crashing, on boots of dashing just to hold a candle to a wizard who can kill you seven ways till monday only using that aforementioned book.

Crow
2007-11-27, 11:24 PM
Indeed. Sure, they need sword and shield and armor, but a wizard needs his book! The key is that a fighter shouldn't need to have gaunlets of bashing, belt of crashing, on boots of dashing just to hold a candle to a wizard who can kill you seven ways till monday only using that aforementioned book.

Again, a symptom of the underlying problem, the magic system. Since they probably aren't going to fix that, I actually would be receptive to class-specific experience progressions, if done properly.

Collin152
2007-11-27, 11:27 PM
Right. Now how would one make fighters less gear dependant without hindering others with extra gear?
Special abilities ala Tome of Battle?
New special features in addition to bonus feats?
A lack of verismillitude? Well, as it is they survive more than entire cities put together have.
EDIT: Ah, curse your Ninja-editing skills. Yes, the magic system is flawed, and I think they are attempting to fix it, but if they do anything significant, it'll cripple the whole thing, just you wait and see.
Course, once you account for a clean slate in terms of cheesy spells...
They might stand a chance.
Oh, and I won't stand for class-specific experience. It would make multiclassing that much harder.

Tempest Fennac
2007-11-28, 09:02 AM
Didn't the 2nd Edition have a lot of Wizard variants which were often based around elements or schools of magic? Do you think it may work in a similar way in the 4th Edition?

Mr. Friendly
2007-11-28, 09:25 AM
Are you trying to imply that wands and staves have phallic imagery?

I put on my robe and wizard hat.

J.Gellert
2007-11-28, 10:05 AM
Oh, I am sorry, I had not read the article.

I do not mind the staff/orb/wand thing any more. Naaah.

At least it's not half as stupid as the traditions. What was wrong with Necromancers and Transmuters? Now they are imposing these silly names/traditions/styles as if they can cover every conceivable type of arcanist - and furthermore, they are core? So the Wyvern Claw fellows are going to be around in both Eberron and Forgotten Realms?

Green Bean
2007-11-28, 10:11 AM
At least it's not half as stupid as the traditions. What was wrong with Necromancers and Transmuters? Now they are imposing these silly names/traditions/styles as if they can cover every conceivable type of arcanist - and furthermore, they are core? So the Wyvern Claw fellows are going to be around in both Eberron and Forgotten Realms?

I'm not entirely sure, but I'm pretty certain that Wizards has said that those names aren't an integral part of the magic system. I figure that those traditions are simply organizations that specialize in specific schools, not the schools themselves.

Tempest Fennac
2007-11-28, 10:13 AM
Which tradition would be best for people who would want to prioritise buffing allies (eg: spells like Bull's Strength and Haste) while solving problems (eg: Fly and Invisibility) while de-buffing enermies (eg: Glitterdust and Waves of Exhaustion)? Serpent Eye sounds like the best spell for that, but does anyone have any spell lists for each school yet?

EDIT: if H.V. is right, this question is probably irrelevant (I'll won't delete it in case the traditions are really important).

J.Gellert
2007-11-28, 10:23 AM
*Hopes h_v is right*

Mr. Friendly
2007-11-28, 10:30 AM
Oh, I am sorry, I had not read the article.

I do not mind the staff/orb/wand thing any more. Naaah.

At least it's not half as stupid as the traditions. What was wrong with Necromancers and Transmuters? Now they are imposing these silly names/traditions/styles as if they can cover every conceivable type of arcanist - and furthermore, they are core? So the Wyvern Claw fellows are going to be around in both Eberron and Forgotten Realms?

Yeah that is pretty silly; it's not like a spellcaster could ever conceivably go from Faerun to Eberron. You would need some sort of Gate to that or perhaps some way to "shift" from one plane to another, like Plane Shift or something. :smallconfused:

Artanis
2007-11-28, 10:35 AM
The solution isn't to make wizards as gear dependent as the fighters. The solution is to make the fighters not nearly as gear dependent as they currently are.
Uh...they've said that they're doing exactly that, making then entire game more about the character and less about the gear.

SmartAlec
2007-11-28, 10:44 AM
That's right, they are. And before they can do that, they need to bring all the classes to a similar level of dependence before they can figure out how to scale that dependence down. Hence, this wizard change.

Makes sense to me.

Caduceus
2007-11-28, 11:04 AM
Are you trying to imply that wands and staves have phallic imagery?

Of course wands are phallic imagery. But everyone forgets the feminine half of the combo, including Wizards it seems. The chalice.

Crow
2007-11-28, 12:39 PM
Uh...they've said that they're doing exactly that, making then entire game more about the character and less about the gear.

No they're not. D&D has always been about the "stuff". It will continue to be. Wait and see.


That's right, they are. And before they can do that, they need to bring all the classes to a similar level of dependence before they can figure out how to scale that dependence down. Hence, this wizard change.

Makes sense to me.

The dependence isn't going to be the issue. Even if the magic users and melee types have to dump a similar amount of resources into "stuff", the magic users are still going to blow away the melee types simply because of what magic is capable of doing.

Everyone talks about ToB and how it was this great balancing factor, but wizards still own martial adepts just as well as they did fighters and barbarians. If you don't have magic, you are eventually going to suck. That isn't going to change. Again, wait and see.

Thinker
2007-11-28, 12:45 PM
No they're not. D&D has always been about the "stuff". It will continue to be. Wait and see.



The dependence isn't going to be the issue. Even if the magic users and melee types have to dump a similar amount of resources into "stuff", the magic users are still going to blow away the melee types simply because of what magic is capable of doing.

Everyone talks about ToB and how it was this great balancing factor, but wizards still own martial adepts just as well as they did fighters and barbarians. If you don't have magic, you are eventually going to suck. That isn't going to change. Again, wait and see.

You seem like the eternal pessimist. You keep complaining about a product that doesn't exist and telling people you'll be right and they should "wait and see". Why don't you try that?

Wizard casting will be more about battlefield control than dealing damage. This means they will be important, but not entirely necessary. Is battlefield control important? Yes. If a wizard can control the battlefield, but not deal enough damage to defeat opponents, its balanced.

There is no increase in gear required, just that gear is required. This makes sense. Tools are invented to facilitate tasks. A fighter with a sword should be able to kill a fighter without a weapon, assuming they have each trained in their combat skills the same amount. A wizard with a staff should be able to kill a wizard without one, otherwise the tool never would have been invented. Its the same concept.

Quit bitching about magic being all-powerful when we don't have a real preview of it yet. You come on here every day and complain about things that you've never seen and berate other people for saying it could be ok. Its not doing anything, but making people less likely to listen to a broken record.

Artanis
2007-11-28, 01:16 PM
No they're not. D&D has always been about the "stuff". It will continue to be. Wait and see.


"Last night at dinner Andrew Finch and I had an interesting discussion about the way magic items are going to work in 4th Edition. Since I was busy running Star Wars games and hosting my own seminars I didn't get to go to any of the D&D panels, so I don't know how much they revealed about magic items. Anyways, Andrew and I were having a bit of a disagreement about the way magic items contribute to the D&D experience. (As an aside, Andrew and I have had many such conversations back at the office, especially in a Star Wars context where loot and gear are almost meaningless). We both agree on this: finding a magic item is a tangible player reward that helps keep the game moving forward for the players. While XP may be its own reward, it's a delayed reward. When I conclude an encounter, I get XP, but I don't get its effects for another few encounters. The presence of magic items provides an immediate reward (or, at least, the potential for an immediate reward) at the conclusion of the encounter. You don't have to actually get a new magic item for the potential for reward to be there, and in many cases you'll feel as though you've been rewarded when someone else gets an item. In 4E, I think there is going to be a very interesting dynamic between magic items and players. I believe it was mentioned that some traditional things about magic items were going the way of the dodo, and that magic items aren't going to be required to do cool things at high levels. While that may be true, I think people are still going to want magic items because they are going to provide some cool and exciting effects. There's going to be a new dynamic where players are going to want new things but not necessarily need them as much to remain competitive, which I'm thinking is going to actually cause the "I'm happy for someone else when they get loot" mentality to spread. If I don't get new magic items for a while, I'm not becoming underpowered per se, so it's much easier for me to feel rewarded when someone else picks up a new magic item."
There's a couple more quotes in there too, like the one about a badass fighter mentioned in a podcast with ZERO magic items.

So, they've said they're trying to do exactly what you say they should do: make magic items less necessary. Thus your assertion that they are not going to reduce the need for magic items is, in effect, one of two things:
1) an assertion that WotC is lying through their teeth, or
2) an assertion that WotC will botch it up.

In the case of #1, you will never be happy, because you will be convinced that WotC will go opposite from what you want even if they say otherwise. In the case of #2, you have nothing to go on but pessimism until we see some actual "crunch", and thus you are making baseless accusations.

Azerian Kelimon
2007-11-28, 01:22 PM
We DO have to remember most of the people there ARE the guys who play blaster wizards, healbot clerics, and monks.

SmartAlec
2007-11-28, 01:44 PM
I'd be interested to see how they handle magic items in general.

A lot of the magical items I see... let's use weapons as an example; a lot of the magical weapons I see tend to follow the same formula.

Magic Sword of Magic Abilities
- + to hit/damage enchantment
- bonus elemental damage enchantment
- random 3rd effect for added cool

I'd like to see what happens if they simply get rid of the +to hit/damage enchantments, and allow the random cool effect to stand alone; so magic weapons, and items, become cool bonuses that work in a similar vein to the new feats system, or simple bonuses that add to a character's utility, rather than something you simply Must Have.

Mewtarthio
2007-11-28, 02:01 PM
We DO have to remember most of the people there ARE the guys who play blaster wizards, healbot clerics, and monks.

WotC is smart enough to read the boards. They know that Batman Wizards and CoDzillas are considered overpowered.

Azerian Kelimon
2007-11-28, 02:09 PM
Why did they do the Celerity mistake TWICE (Second time: anticipatory strike), then? Or why create the CW samurai instead of using the old OA badass? Seriously, give the task of a new edition to a D&D board (ANY board), and we could probably do it better AND FASTER than the designers. And with a bit more humor, at that.

Wizzardman
2007-11-28, 03:08 PM
Didn't the 2nd Edition have a lot of Wizard variants which were often based around elements or schools of magic? Do you think it may work in a similar way in the 4th Edition?

Not really. Second Edition favored 'specialist wizards', such as the Evoker (evocation-specialist) or the Diviner (divination-specialist), with a focus on specific types of spells, rather than specific uses of spells. Evocation-specialist generally meant 'wizard who directly applies to something in order to do something', but it didn't entirely mean "Captain Blastercaster."

Honestly, I'm hoping that 4th Edition is going to allow for a lot of customization in these classes. I wouldn't mind having to use an orb/spell/wand if I could use any of the three for any type of caster I wanted, or could possibly exchange this 'spell focus thinggummy' for something that fits my character better, such as a jaunty hat or a ring of power.

SmartAlec
2007-11-28, 03:20 PM
Honestly, I'm hoping that 4th Edition is going to allow for a lot of customization in these classes. I wouldn't mind having to use an orb/spell/wand if I could use any of the three for any type of caster I wanted, or could possibly exchange this 'spell focus thinggummy' for something that fits my character better, such as a jaunty hat or a ring of power.

I think the overall idea - or my understanding of it - is Wizards and staff/orb/wand is like a Fighter and great weapon/sword and shield/dual wielding. You pick a weapon that suits your preferred style, and maybe you have a backup. For example, a Fighter can have a longsword and shortsword because he prefers dual-wielding, but has a small shield stapped to his back in case he needs to fight defensive; a Wizard carries a staff because he's specialised in control spells and area-effect, but has a wand on his belt in case he needs to use his standard single-target attack spell; and so on.

A wizard using a hat instead of a staff... really depends how ridiculous the request is, I guess. The trouble with that I see is that you can wear a hat and use a staff at the same time, so it would be like a fighter holding a greatsword and strapping an axe to his helmet, and being able to choose between which weapon to use.

Artanis
2007-11-28, 04:01 PM
I think the overall idea - or my understanding of it - is Wizards and staff/orb/wand is like a Fighter and great weapon/sword and shield/dual wielding. You pick a weapon that suits your preferred style, and maybe you have a backup. For example, a Fighter can have a longsword and shortsword because he prefers dual-wielding, but has a small shield stapped to his back in case he needs to fight defensive; a Wizard carries a staff because he's specialised in control spells and area-effect, but has a wand on his belt in case he needs to use his standard single-target attack spell; and so on.
That's the impression I got as well. The EN World compilation actually even has a quote talking about a mid-level fighter who is better with axes, and thus would prefer to use them, but isn't so intensely focused that he can't pull out a polearm should the situation call for a reach weapon.

Leadfeathermcc
2007-11-28, 05:19 PM
If I stick the orb at the end of the staff, can I have a Wizard's Staff with a Knob at the End (http://pratchett.free.fr/chanson5.htm)?

Collin152
2007-11-28, 05:21 PM
A wizard using a hat instead of a staff... really depends how ridiculous the request is, I guess. The trouble with that I see is that you can wear a hat and use a staff at the same time, so it would be like a fighter holding a greatsword and strapping an axe to his helmet, and being able to choose between which weapon to use.

Or like having a second weapon on his Belt! Gracious, would you believe what the world would be like if Fighters could drop things or wield things without using up their turn?
Oh, wait.

Crow
2007-11-28, 05:28 PM
The EN World compilation actually even has a quote talking about a mid-level fighter who is better with axes, and thus would prefer to use them, but isn't so intensely focused that he can't pull out a polearm should the situation call for a reach weapon.

You do realize that fighters and other classes can already do that, right?

Collin152
2007-11-28, 05:33 PM
Right, now pictuer that concept, but working, and better, and magnified.

SmartAlec
2007-11-28, 05:43 PM
Or like having a second weapon on his Belt! Gracious, would you believe what the world would be like if Fighters could drop things or wield things without using up their turn?
Oh, wait.

You're missing my point, a little. It's a balance issue; you shouldn't be able to use more than one weapon in one hand.

- The Fighter shouldn't be able to wield a greatsword and headbutt with his helmet-axe, and claim the benefits of both at the same time. No sane man would claim that the fighter would be entitled to the threat range of the greatsword combined with the greater critical multiplier of the axe.

- But a Wizard would be able to wear a hat/Ring and wield a staff at the same time. So if the Hat took the place of a wand, and a ring took the place of an orb, that Wizard would be the equivalent of a Fighter dual-wielding a greatsword and an axe, while using a shield. So, it's for balance purposes that foci probably shouldn't be rings or hats.

EDIT: Unless you came up with some rule that meant you couldn't do that; that is, you'd have to remove your hat or ring before using your staff.

Collin152
2007-11-28, 05:52 PM
Or, you know, only use one per spell.

SmartAlec
2007-11-28, 06:09 PM
Not even that; it wouldn't be fair for the purposes of things like disarming. You wouldn't need to take a Swift Action to draw a secondary 'weapon' if your primary was disarmed, because you'd be 'holding' two others already.

Naihal
2007-11-28, 06:13 PM
You're missing my point, a little. It's a balance issue; you shouldn't be able to use more than one weapon in one hand.

- The Fighter shouldn't be able to wield a greatsword and headbutt with his helmet-axe, and claim the benefits of both at the same time. No sane man would claim that the fighter would be entitled to the threat range of the greatsword combined with the greater critical multiplier of the axe.

- But a Wizard would be able to wear a hat/Ring and wield a staff at the same time. So if the Hat took the place of a wand, and a ring took the place of an orb, that Wizard would be the equivalent of a Fighter dual-wielding a greatsword and an axe, while using a shield. So, it's for balance purposes that foci probably shouldn't be rings or hats.

EDIT: Unless you came up with some rule that meant you couldn't do that; that is, you'd have to remove your hat or ring before using your staff.

Just make it part of the system that the wizard has to extensively concentrate on his foci, and therefore can only use one at a time even if he has multiple foci with him. Allow a high level, possibly epic Concentration check to use more than one at a time, or just make it a feat with a Concentration prereq.

Collin152
2007-11-28, 06:17 PM
Not even that; it wouldn't be fair for the purposes of things like disarming. You wouldn't need to take a Swift Action to draw a secondary 'weapon' if your primary was disarmed, because you'd be 'holding' two others already.

Maybe you need to take an action to attune yourself to the item, with regards to non-handheld items.

SmartAlec
2007-11-28, 06:19 PM
Then that would probably be fine. I say probably because although I can't think of another situation where holding three foci at once would be potentially cheesy, that doesn't mean there won't be one.

I could imagine someone 'disarming' someone's hat with an attack, but a ring...?

Artanis
2007-11-28, 06:21 PM
You do realize that fighters and other classes can already do that, right?
Of course I do. You're the one who doesn't realize that Wizards will still be able to do so in 4e.

Kaelik
2007-11-28, 06:24 PM
You're missing my point, a little. It's a balance issue; you shouldn't be able to use more than one weapon in one hand.

- The Fighter shouldn't be able to wield a greatsword and headbutt with his helmet-axe, and claim the benefits of both at the same time. No sane man would claim that the fighter would be entitled to the threat range of the greatsword combined with the greater critical multiplier of the axe.

Replace Helmet Axe with Armor Spikes. Oh no, now he is using multiple weapons at the same time.

SmartAlec
2007-11-28, 06:28 PM
Well, this is kind of where the As long as the ideas aren't too ridiculous caveat I added comes in. Somehow, I just don't see wizard robes with wands sticking out of the shoulders.

Crow
2007-11-28, 06:28 PM
Nevermind. I'm trying to do this while dealing with the government in RL at the moment.

SmartAlec
2007-11-28, 06:33 PM
You must misunderstand, because I didn't mention anything about wizards.

Then what were you saying? Yes, we're all aware Fighters can already do that. The point is, Wizards will be getting a weapons system that will give them a similar tactical choice of weaponry, mirroring the weapon selection choices other classes get to make.

You made it sound like we were all missing something.

Collin152
2007-11-28, 06:39 PM
Then that would probably be fine. I say probably because although I can't think of another situation where holding three foci at once would be potentially cheesy, that doesn't mean there won't be one.

I could imagine someone 'disarming' someone's hat with an attack, but a ring...?

Sunder the ring, cut off mah finger, knock it off, it's not like they're Wolverine's claws.

SmartAlec
2007-11-28, 06:49 PM
Well, the whole idea behind a 'disarm' attack is that it doesn't actually cause any damage; it simply removes someone's weapon. It would seem to stretch credibility that a single Disarm attack could remove a ring from someone's finger without

- damaging the ring, because then it would have to count as a Sunder
OR
- damaging the hand, because then it would be a called shot, or whatever the technical term for attacking a specific limb is.

It's an awkward idea that seems vaguely unsatisfactory whichever way you spin it; if you rule that removing a ring would require, say, two successful grapple attacks - one to pin the wizard, another to get at his hand - then it's probably not worth it; if I was DMing, I would probably say "Just use a wand/orb/staff and like it" to the player. But if you use a ring and just pretend it acts exactly like a regular weapon and can be disarmed like a regular weapon, it feels a little bizarre.

Orzel
2007-11-28, 06:59 PM
What if they create... Improved Unarmed Casting?

*brain shuts down*

SmartAlec
2007-11-28, 07:06 PM
Works for me!

... seriously, all of a sudden, being able to cast spells with your bare hands without penalty actually becomes a valuable skill. Perhaps it's a feat that would allow a Wizard to spellcast without penalty while using a non-focus weapon like a sword.

Collin152
2007-11-28, 07:12 PM
Suppose it is a large, gaudy man-ring. It's practically slipping off of my finger as it is. Now can it be disarmed?

SmartAlec
2007-11-28, 07:17 PM
No! Because you could simply make a fist.

Would you allow a Fighter to use an amulet as a sword? Or a Druid, a bunch of flowers as a scimitar? Yes, you could bend heaven and earth to make it viable, but is it really worth it?

Collin152
2007-11-28, 07:30 PM
I wouldn't let them use them as though they were other things, but they'd have effects. Given a ring's less disarmability (As if it were a concern for wizards anyways. "Take my staff, I'll blow your head off and take it back."), it would have a lesser bonus. And yes, I'd deal with that.

Wizzardman
2007-11-28, 07:52 PM
A wizard using a hat instead of a staff... really depends how ridiculous the request is, I guess. The trouble with that I see is that you can wear a hat and use a staff at the same time, so it would be like a fighter holding a greatsword and strapping an axe to his helmet, and being able to choose between which weapon to use.

I dunno. I figured that you can't use more than one such item at once--ruleswise, their bonuses wouldn't stack, and flavorwise, you'd be trying to divert energy into two objects at once, for an overall effect of 'neither'.

As for disarming: unless this orb is large, unwieldy, and has to be held in your hand, its going to be hard to disarm in the first place. Besides, fighters are allowed to use special gauntlets to chain their weapons to their hands [said gauntlets are in the PHB]. Why wouldn't you simply declare that this Wizzard's Hat or Green Lantern-style Ring acquire a bonus against disarming (similar to the gauntlets] and require extra cash or a feat in return?

Actually, if I were a Wizard who had to use a special item to cast, I'd be a lot more worried about sundering attempts than disarming attempts. Staffs are two-handed weapons, and thereby hard to disarm, but they don't exactly have many hit points--and its not like the melee person is loosing much in the way of loot by destroying it. Similarly, orbs, rings, and hats would not be hard to target with sundering attempts, but could be difficult to disarm

And, of course, a wizard can't reclaim a destroyed focus, so sundering damages the wizard for that entire combat.

SmartAlec
2007-11-28, 08:18 PM
I dunno. I figured that you can't use more than one such item at once--ruleswise, their bonuses wouldn't stack, and flavorwise, you'd be trying to divert energy into two objects at once, for an overall effect of 'neither'.

I'm sure. But it simply makes things nice and consistent for it to be difficult to hold two items at once.

I suppose you could introduce a series of penalties for holding two focusses at once, much like dual-wielding penalties, and then introduce a series of feaths to make it easier; but I don't think there'd be much point to dual-wielding foci.


As for disarming: unless this orb is large, unwieldy, and has to be held in your hand, its going to be hard to disarm in the first place.

That is what I imagined, yes; a large, reasonably heavy ball of crystal, about five inches in diameter. Something large enough to use as a scrying focus.


Besides, fighters are allowed to use special gauntlets to chain their weapons to their hands [said gauntlets are in the PHB]. Why wouldn't you simply declare that this Wizzard's Hat or Green Lantern-style Ring acquire a bonus against disarming (similar to the gauntlets] and require extra cash or a feat in return?

Well, we know Fighters can do that in 3rd Ed. I've not seen anything that allows them to do that in 4th Ed, though, so it's all kind of up in the air.


And, of course, a wizard can't reclaim a destroyed focus, so sundering damages the wizard for that entire combat.

That is exactly my beef with it. As a DM, I'd like to add a little feeling of risk by introducing the possibility of the Wizard having his focus disarmed, if a proficient fighter opponent gets within melee range. However, I'd like to do it without

- being in the position of having to cut an arm off to do it
- damaging the focus itself
- having the player quibble about how his focus is logically undisarmable

because the first two are kind of harsh, and the third is just irritating.

Collin152
2007-11-28, 08:20 PM
Course, I'd just sunder the wizard.

SmartAlec
2007-11-28, 08:28 PM
That is a possibility; but, if there is ever a time when the fight is going badly for the players and, say, I want to give the Wizard a round's grace before he starts taking damage (giving someone else the chance to bail him out), then a Disarm is likely what I'd want to do.

Drama, man, drama! A good battle is like a well-staged showpiece, and anything that limits my options as a DM to orchestrate the fight is bad.

Collin152
2007-11-28, 08:32 PM
It's just, heres how I see it:
Fighter: "Disarmed!"
Wizard: "Hey! My Staff! Now I'll have to do this without the extra punch. Shatter's rough equivelant!"
Fighter: "Gah! My precious sword!"
Wizard: "Quickened Telekinesis' Rough Equivilent!"
Fighter: "Gah! My inability to fly unaided!"

Wizards will still be powerful without their Foci, so why bother disarm them? If you must take it out of the picture, sunder it. Unless it's leet and magical, it wouldn't be hard to replace. Or repair.

SmartAlec
2007-11-28, 08:38 PM
If a battle's luckily going their way and they're going to get through the battle without a scratch otherwise, sure, I might Sunder the focus or attack the Wizard. If they're getting their butts kicked, then no. I'd play for time and hide behind the mechanics, by using stuff like Disarm. I just find that approach more convincing, and satisfying, than fudging dice rolls.

Anyhow, going off topic.