PDA

View Full Version : fighters vs mages in fantasy



Pages : [1] 2

Belial_the_Leveler
2008-03-10, 07:26 AM
People concerned about flavor always say that balance ruins flavor and/or suspension of disbelief because it violates one of the "laws" of fantasy: magic is inherently more powerful than combat skills.

The above, however, is a very recent idea in quite new fantasy works over the past two and a half decades. If we look at all the older fantasy works we will see that it is fighters, not mages that are the most powerful. Here are some examples:

Sampson killed 3000 enemies using as his only weapon the jaws of a donkey.
Hercules, after being wounded by an entire army throwing arrows and javelins at him, killed them by throwing back rocks.
In many Byzantine-era poems, great warriors mowed down thousands of enemies single-handedly (or fought with Death in meele)
In eastern fantasy there are great swordsmen, monks and the like that defeated entire armies.
In Tolkien's books, Hurin slew seventy trolls and hundreds, perhaps thousands of enemies in a single battle.
Conan. 'nuff said.


So, why do people insist that magic is supposedly more powerful in fantasy? It might be more exotic but when human fighters can take on a god hand-to-hand, fighters are proven stronger than mages.

Fitz
2008-03-10, 07:33 AM
Hi there
I'm not so sure that the modern fantasy is that much more magic heavy, there always seems to be some great cost to the magic that stops the mage being all powerful, usually the fact that after casting a spell they are all but helpless (see Robin Hobb: assasin series, Gail Martin, necromancer series, Eddings had the unintended consequence and fatigue) so yes magic is powerful, but it comes at a high cost?

Kurald Galain
2008-03-10, 07:41 AM
People concerned about flavor always say that balance ruins flavor and/or suspension of disbelief because it violates one of the "laws" of fantasy: magic is inherently more powerful than combat skills.

Really?

I have never heard of this so-called "law of fantasy", and while I know many people concerned about flavor, I never heard any of them say that balance ruins flavor.

random11
2008-03-10, 08:20 AM
The main problem is with games that try to be at least semi-realistic.

Bound by forces of reality, a fighter is limited. But for obvious reasons, there are no similar limitation on magic.

Talya
2008-03-10, 08:51 AM
Sampson killed 3000 enemies using as his only weapon the jaws of a donkey.
You're in danger of breaking forum rules calling Samson "Fantasy" (not that I disagree with you.) Regardless, Samson had the direct backing of the Hebrew God YHWH, which traditionally, in the Old Testament, made one completely invulnerable. As one of Israel's "Judges," he would be more akin to a cleric with permanent buff spells active (unless someone cut his hair.)



Hercules, after being wounded by an entire army throwing arrows and javelins at him, killed them by throwing back rocks.
Like Sampson, Hercules has a divine power element. In his case, he was a demigod himself, a son of the great Zeus.



In many Byzantine-era poems, great warriors mowed down thousands of enemies single-handedly (or fought with Death in meele)

Examples?


In eastern fantasy there are great swordsmen, monks and the like that defeated entire armies.
In eastern fantasy, monks are mages. Nčijěn (chi power) and great feats of qīnggōng and debilitating dianxué make them more akin to mages than fighters. (Although TOB characters fit the style well, they are more akin go mages than fighters, too.)


In Tolkien's books, Hurin slew seventy trolls and hundreds, perhaps thousands of enemies in a single battle.
And Sauron, Elrond, Galadriel or Gandalf make him look like a gimp.


Conan. 'nuff said.

Not exactly old fiction.

And often, the mage was the antagonist in fiction. The antagonist is always more powerful than the protagonist, but the underdog also usually wins.

Project_Mayhem
2008-03-10, 09:14 AM
In Raymond E. Feist's Riftwar series, I got the impression that despite Pugs World altering power, if Thomas had to kick his arse for some reason it would be a tight thing.

Edit: err, the fight would be tight, not Pug's arse.

Talic
2008-03-10, 09:24 AM
Note that all of the examples above pitted the warrior against other warriors.

You never saw King Arthur go toe to toe with Merlin.

Many cultures, for quite a long time, have held spiritual leaders in higher esteem than warriors, and more than one believe that the shaman/whatever has mystical powers that mere warriors cannot match.

Many movies, including the Wishmaster, the Leprechaun series, and the Wizard of Oz show that magical power consistently trumps the warriors. Everyone cowered before the witches.

In fact, almost without fail, in any fantasy battle between warrior and mage, the warrior only wins if he finds a way to protect himself from the power in such beings.

Tengu
2008-03-10, 09:37 AM
In fact, almost without fail, in any fantasy battle between warrior and mage, the warrior only wins if he finds a way to protect himself from the power in such beings.

Which is usually the case because the warrior is the protagonist (magic users being evil is still a living trope), and therefore a different scenario would be boring.

AKA_Bait
2008-03-10, 09:42 AM
In Raymond E. Feist's Riftwar series, I got the impression that despite Pugs World altering power, if Thomas had to kick his arse for some reason it would be a tight thing.

Edit: err, the fight would be tight, not Pug's arse.

Yeah, but remember that Thomas isn't mudane in that series either. He's as much Valheru as human and they used magic.

Project_Mayhem
2008-03-10, 09:53 AM
Yeah, but remember that Thomas isn't mudane in that series either. He's as much Valheru as human and they used magic.

Aha, yes Tom is Valhheru'd up, BUT, I see that as the equivelant of an epic fighter. He never casts spells, the magic is purely contained in 1.) his equipment, and 2.) How spectacularly badass he is at that point; i.e. in dnd terms, an epic level fighter with awesome equipment.

To me, it highlights the balance thing quite well - Pug, an epic wizard if ever there was one, is very poweful, but there is a melee fighter who can match him.

Kurald Galain
2008-03-10, 09:59 AM
Aha, yes Tom is Valhheru'd up, BUT, I see that as the equivelant of an epic fighter. He never casts spells, the magic is purely contained in 1.) his equipment, and 2.) How spectacularly badass he is at that point; i.e. in dnd terms, an epic level fighter with awesome equipment.

I'd have to look it up, but I'm reasonably sure Tomas does use magic at some point.

I wouldn't call Pug epic, myself, considering he's not that much stronger than most Blackrobes, and gets upstaged by Macros the Black.

Nakor, though, is definitely either epic, or a deus ex machina :smallbiggrin:

Mr. Friendly
2008-03-10, 10:03 AM
I take exception to Hercules (and by extension Perseus) being characterized as "not counting" as a fighter due to divine blood. In D&D he would have a template or a bloodline but would still be a fighter.

What about Odysseus/Ulysses; here is a completely normal person who defeats a great host of mythical creatures and beings, mostly through wits but also via force of arms.

Morty
2008-03-10, 10:09 AM
Even if there were no truly über non-casters in fiction, why should we care? D&D can draw inspiration from other forms of storytelling and does it quite often, but is primarily a game, and as such follows its own rules. And one of them is that if designer wants the non-magic folk to be more or less equal to wizards, they are, assuming s/he doesn't fail at it.

AKA_Bait
2008-03-10, 10:10 AM
What about Odysseus/Ulysses; here is a completely normal person who defeats a great host of mythical creatures and beings, mostly through wits but also via force of arms.

Ulysses is not a completley normal person. In the Homerian tradition he is descended from Aeolas on his paternal side and Hermes on his maternal side. Sure, he's not half god, but he's still not just a human. Also, he has the aide of Athena.

Tamburlaine
2008-03-10, 10:14 AM
^^^Ah, but Odysseus was plainly a rogue rather than a fighter; he certainly sneak attacked the cyclops

random11
2008-03-10, 10:16 AM
Ulysses is not a completley normal person. In the Homerian tradition he is descended from Aeolas on his paternal side and Hermes on his maternal side. Sure, he's not half god, but he's still not just a human. Also, he has the aide of Athena.

In RPG games, the gods can also communicate to fighters, giving them aid (and/or a headache).
Ulysses had the help of Athena, but while his fighting was impressive, it still wasn't enchanted in a way that you can compare him to a priest or even to a divine fighter. He was "just" a fighter with a strong ally.

AKA_Bait
2008-03-10, 10:17 AM
^^^Ah, but Odysseus was plainly a rogue rather than a fighter; he certainly sneak attacked the cyclops

I think he was proably multiclassed. He also won the wrestling contest at the games for the death of Patroclus.

Oslecamo
2008-03-10, 10:30 AM
I think he was proably multiclassed. He also won the wrestling contest at the games for the death of Patroclus.

He won because he prayed to Atenas to give him the victory, and Atenas granted the wish.

And "defeated a host of Mytical creatures" isn't very correct.

"Managed to escape from an host of Mystical creatures" is much more correct.

Ulysses only returned alive at home because he knew when to run away like a chicken. A living chicken at least, while his "brave" companions died one by one because they tought they were match for the diferent monsters they found.

Kurald Galain
2008-03-10, 10:33 AM
Yes, but Odysseus was capable of shooting an arrow through the eye of ten axeheads in a row, which is no mean feat.

I'd recommend the book Ilium, by Dan Simmons - it's kind of a modern version of the Illiad, and it's very good on the combat hyperbole.

AKA_Bait
2008-03-10, 10:37 AM
He won because he prayed to Atenas to give him the victory, and Atenas granted the wish.

Where are you getting that from. I don't recall any mention Athena intervening in that section of the Iliad. (http://www.greektexts.com/library/Homer/Iliad_(Rapsodies_19_to_24)/eng/185.html)


and "defeated a host of Mytical creatures" isn't very correct.

"Managed to escape from an host of Mystical creatures" is much more correct.

Ulysses only returned alive at home because he knew when to run away like a chicken. A living chicken at least, while his "brave" companions died one by one because they tought they were match for the diferent monsters they found.

This is true. Odessyus hardly slays anything. Usually he wounds it, like the Cyclops, and gets the heck out of dodge.

Talya
2008-03-10, 10:43 AM
I take exception to Hercules (and by extension Perseus) being characterized as "not counting" as a fighter due to divine blood. In D&D he would have a template or a bloodline but would still be a fighter.

More than a template.

In D&D, Hercules would also have a divine rank of somewhere between 0 and 5. (0 at the beginning of his rise to fame, 5 near the end of his tasks, as a demipower) His levels would consist of fighter or barbarian mixed with equal parts outsider.

Draco Ignifer
2008-03-10, 11:32 AM
Would "legends" work better than "fantasy" for Samson? I mean, I doubt anyone really cares if you call him mythical, legendary, heroic, or fictional. Regardless, there's a difference between "powered by God" and "a Cleric." Clerics are more along the lines of Moses (sticks to snakes, ten plagues, parting the red sea), Elijah (calling down a pillar of flames from the heavens), and the like; what Samson did was pure physical power augmented by Godly might. He's a Crusader, a Paladin, or a Fighter with fluff behind his mechanics. Doesn't diminish him.

Similarly, if being god-blooded means that fighter-types can't apply, you might want to stop citing Sauron or Gandalf (outsiders), Merlin (half-outsider), Circe (goddess or nymph), or a lot of others as an example of the power of magic.

Finally, just for fun, look at the fighter from 3.5. Yes, he's weaker than the magey-types. He can also survive being immersed in molten lava (assuming average HP, average damage, and +2 con modifier, he can live past ten seconds down there, too), turn a wall ten inches thick into a pile of rubble in the space of six seconds with his bare fists (power attack for 20, assuming a +5 strength modifier, and assuming a hit for max damage each time, and he deals 80 damage to its 75 hit points), and cut a two inch thick slab of iron in half with a single brutal strike (two-handed sword, leaping power attack for 20, and with a 20 strength, he doesn't even need to roll the dice). He can tear through solid stone at a rate of two feet per minute, run naked through a blizzard for half an hour and live to tell about it, and go for months without food. He's a force of nature.

He's also not much less impressive, if any less impressive, than Heracles.

Azerian Kelimon
2008-03-10, 12:03 PM
Not really, when you consider what a myth hero does by the end of his epic. Using the Heracles example, he goes through Hades, and tames the Cerberus. For the equivalent, a fighter would have to be able to go through one of the layers of the Abyss (Say, Azzagrat), and steal a prized macguffin from a Demon Lord (Say, Grazzt's succubus concubine). Instead, a fighter loaded to the teeth in magic items (Which mythic heroes mostly didn't have) has trouble handling a tarrasque, and let's not talk of the hell he'd have against a winged tarrasque, or a Balor. All in all, it's a lot less impressive, moreso because to do that fighter has exactly one. Single. Attack. Pattern. If that pattern fails, he's royally screwed.

rockdeworld
2008-03-10, 12:07 PM
I think there's a good example of this type of thing in the OOTS strip somewhere (board's too slow for me to search the archives atm), where V says "it tends to leave one without much time for exercise." Or something to that effect.

I like to look at the example of Raistlin from Dragonlance. He gained magic powers with the price of giving up his health - sort of like mages in DnD do with the d4 hit die. His brother had no magic powers, but was a fitness pro and good with a sword besides.

More common than magic being more powerful than regular fighting, in fantasy you tend to see magic as power with a cost. Commonly, those who gain more power pay a higher cost. Take for example the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series by Tad Williams. One of the antagonists is a mage who endures torturous suffering for the power to change his form into a terrifying monster. He then becomes more-or-less unstoppable, but the price he paid was great.

So it's not exactly that magic is more powerful than regular fighting, but it's a completely different form of power.

Lapak
2008-03-10, 12:49 PM
And Sauron, Elrond, Galadriel or Gandalf make him look like a gimp.Interesting you should pick LotR as your example. Other than Gandalf/Saruman, I can't think of another battle that was strictly magical in nature or any magical battle between major characters that resulted in the death of an opponent. Gandalf vs. Balrog came down to swords and physical confrontation. Beren wrestled the were-wolf. Every time a Balrog or a dragon was slain in the Silmarillion, it was with physical weapons.

The only time I can remember magic killing anything was some nameless goblins in the Hobbit!

For other examples of non-divine fighters, try Sigurd from Norse legends. Or Beowulf they're both dragon-slayers and enchantment-breakers. Try any of the knights of the round table (less Percival, Bors and Galahad if you want to be really precise), or many of the enemies they fought. Try Gilgamesh, for that matter, one of the earliest heroes on record!

And often, the mage was the antagonist in fiction. The antagonist is always more powerful than the protagonist, but the underdog also usually wins.The wizard-antagonists in legends are almost universally powerful through proxies and enchantments and are extremely vulnerable in their own persons, though. They have a notable weakness that the physical hero can exploit.

Dan_Hemmens
2008-03-10, 01:04 PM
Even if there were no truly über non-casters in fiction, why should we care? D&D can draw inspiration from other forms of storytelling and does it quite often, but is primarily a game, and as such follows its own rules. And one of them is that if designer wants the non-magic folk to be more or less equal to wizards, they are, assuming s/he doesn't fail at it.

I think the point is that people regularly bring up the "it's better in fiction!" argument to explain why casters absolutely have to own non-casters at everything, whereas in fact there are very, very few examples of spellcasters actually being any actual use at all. People are often afraid of them, but not because of anything they actually do.

Look at Merlin. Everybody goes on and on about how totally wise he is, but nobody ever actually says he could take Arthur in a straight fight, and as others have pointed out, no mage ever bested Conan.

The problem is, as other posters have pointed out, it's simply too easy to think of ways that people who use magic can be effective, because they can, rather by definition, do anything.

Oslecamo
2008-03-10, 01:49 PM
Not really, when you consider what a myth hero does by the end of his epic. Using the Heracles example, he goes through Hades, and tames the Cerberus. For the equivalent, a fighter would have to be able to go through one of the layers of the Abyss (Say, Azzagrat), and steal a prized macguffin from a Demon Lord (Say, Grazzt's succubus concubine). Instead, a fighter loaded to the teeth in magic items (Which mythic heroes mostly didn't have) has trouble handling a tarrasque, and let's not talk of the hell he'd have against a winged tarrasque, or a Balor. All in all, it's a lot less impressive, moreso because to do that fighter has exactly one. Single. Attack. Pattern. If that pattern fails, he's royally screwed.

First, most mythic heros get a lot of magic to help them.

Let's check Heracles:

Mantle of the lion: you are immune to all damage other than the claws of the lion from where this skin came. You still lose life trough suffocation and starvation.

Forgot about that little detail he? Heracles had a toy wich would compare to major artifact level in D&D.

Second, the Abyss is a hundred times nastier than Hades. The worst thing you normally find in Hades is moaning souls winning about their past lifes. In the Abyss there are hordes of monsters waiting you to tear apart at every corner. Much diferent.

Azerian Kelimon
2008-03-10, 01:55 PM
The mantle only negated attacks from the back. Yeah. Big deal, who attacked you from the back in greek myths? Rogues weren't that common there, and what that does is prevent you from taking SA damage when flatfooted. Hardly epic or an artifact, considering a heavily fortified armor negates ALL SA damage except from a specialrogue brand.

And still, the cerberus is defineltely what would qualify as an Epic beast in D&D. I really don't see a Fighter doing well against a Titanic Multihedead Fire Breahting dog Of Legend.

MorkaisChosen
2008-03-10, 02:13 PM
Take for example the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series by Tad Williams. One of the antagonists is a mage who endures torturous suffering for the power to change his form into a terrifying monster. He then becomes more-or-less unstoppable, but the price he paid was great.

So it's not exactly that magic is more powerful than regular fighting, but it's a completely different form of power.

Oh, Gods, who was that? I really whould know...

In other stuff, I think it's fair to make fighters as powerful- OK, magic has incredible potential, but it takes AGES to learn how to use it properly.

Rutee
2008-03-10, 02:16 PM
Forgot about that little detail he? Heracles had a toy wich would compare to major artifact level in D&D.
Yeah, but it's totally nonmagical. It's purely Ex, baby. And he made it himself.

Anyway, it's pretty much only Arthurian and Celtic myth that assume that magic is both different and better. Nordic Myth? Thor may be an idiot, but woe betide ye if you face him off directly. Beowulf? Purely melee. Cu Chulainn was an unbeatable warrior until you forced him to break agreements he was bound to serve (Geas in the orignal celtic myth were an interesting mix between magic and nonmagical..) Zhang Fei altered Geography and slew great men with a purely non-magical shout, and he was patently mortal.

And really, why are we discounting the godblooded? That almost by definition means we have to ignore trope-makers. And those trope-makers were generally melee. It's a small subsection of fiction older then people can be that had the patently magical beings as being patently superior.

Morty
2008-03-10, 02:38 PM
The problem is, as other posters have pointed out, it's simply too easy to think of ways that people who use magic can be effective, because they can, rather by definition, do anything.

That's where rules of the game come from, to keep mages on a leash. That's what I think is actually worst about such discussions; most mages in myths or classical fantasy are impossible to be stated out in D&D, or in most RPG systems in fact. Because, as you said, they generally weren't going around throwing spells at everything as D&D wizards do.

WalkingTarget
2008-03-10, 02:41 PM
The wizard-antagonists in legends are almost universally powerful through proxies and enchantments and are extremely vulnerable in their own persons, though. They have a notable weakness that the physical hero can exploit.

As a wise man once said, "No matter how subtle the wizard, a knife between the shoulder blades will seriously cramp his style."

Steven Brust's books don't make a distinction between mages and fighters (or at least, they're not mutually exclusive). Sure, there are characters who specialize, but the protagonist is an assassin who is pretty good with a rapier, throwing knives/darts, or any of the other 30-some weapons he conceals on his person in addition to being a fairly decent sorcerer and a damn good witch (sorcery and witchcraft operate in different ways in this setting, sorcery uses an external source of power, witchcraft is psionic).

Oslecamo
2008-03-10, 02:57 PM
Yeah, but it's totally nonmagical. It's purely Ex, baby. And he made it himself.

Anyway, it's pretty much only Arthurian and Celtic myth that assume that magic is both different and better. Nordic Myth? Thor may be an idiot, but woe betide ye if you face him off directly. Beowulf? Purely melee. Cu Chulainn was an unbeatable warrior until you forced him to break agreements he was bound to serve (Geas in the orignal celtic myth were an interesting mix between magic and nonmagical..) Zhang Fei altered Geography and slew great men with a purely non-magical shout, and he was patently mortal.

And really, why are we discounting the godblooded? That almost by definition means we have to ignore trope-makers. And those trope-makers were generally melee. It's a small subsection of fiction older then people can be that had the patently magical beings as being patently superior.

Extraordinary? What do you call a legendary monster with undestructible skin only the gods know off? Ah, yes, magical beast. Full os supernatural abilities

And you call it handcrafted, I call it loot.

Anyway, using gods is pretty unfair comparison. Gods created the world. They pretty much can do anything they want.

Gods didn't need to train or do anything to get their powers. Ok, sometimes they do, but gods always have uber inherent powers. They were freacking born like that. Thor also gets an uber +200 hammer as a gift from daddy with god knows how much special powers.

I don't know much about Beowulf, but didn't he made a pact with a magical being if I'm not in mistake?

And Zhang Fei was magic. The main problem is that chinese never call magic magic. They call it ki or inner spirit or whatever and anyone who can focus enough can use it to create supernatural effects.

Anyway,the main question to you, does a wizard who buffs himself to heaven is considered a melee?

Because most of your examples get their powers from magic sources one way or another.

Indon
2008-03-10, 03:30 PM
There are different kinds of power.

Physical power is about lifting really heavy things, or killing a zillion opponents in melee combat, or singlehandedly toppling a temple by wrenching out the stone columns, or whathaveyou. Mechanically, this can be represented passively - the same systems that allow for carrying/lifting/throwing, melee combat, or damaging structures can be extrapolated out to easily describe this form of might.

Magical power is about tactical versatility - the kind of thing that in old stories was reserved for Deus Ex Machina. Every application of magic is an excemption, not an extention, of our system, and many each provide a unique capability which can not be done otherwise.

The result is the Barbarian who says, "I charge-attack, it's dead." versus the Wizard who says, "I cast <Appropriate Spell>, and now that I am situationally invulnerable I plink my opponent to death with my crossbow." Both follow the tropes of ancient fantasy - the physical combatant is simple, straightforward, and victorious in conditions condusive to him, while the Wizard is clever, and wins by trickery (which we would call 'being cheap').

Older cultures respected strength. Our culture respects power, and we know knowledge is power. Versatility is far more condusive to success than strength alone - what if while Samson was wailing away with his jawbone-weapon, they'd lured him into some kind of deathtrap where his strength couldn't help him (like having him fall into a ravine with heavy growth then setting the ravine on fire with arrows)? Odysseus was a very rare kind of hero in his day - but in ours the clever hero is practically a stereotype. Merlin used to be viewed as a walking plot device... now he's viewed as a walking toolbox (full of 'sufficiently advanced technology').

The disconnect is not with the scenarios raised by old fantasy and mythology. The disconnect is in how we treat those scenarios after establishing them.

Rutee
2008-03-10, 03:36 PM
Extraordinary? What do you call a legendary monster with undestructible skin only the gods know off? Ah, yes, magical beast. Full os supernatural abilities
So... because DnD says that the Nemean Lion is a Magical Beast, it is? That sounds like the entire problem; Using DnD terms in other fantasy leads to faulty logic, because DnD calls anything above ordinary things in the real world magical. The Nemean Lion was a great and powerful beast, but nothing about it in the myth says that it's magical. It was just a great and powerful beast. Ditto the Hydra. As far as the original fiction is concerned, they're just Beasts.

Here's the problem with the logic.

A = B + C
D = C
Therefore, D = B + C

The Nemean Lion (A) is powerful (B), and DnD says it is magical (C). B is not contingent on C. You could make an argument that C is contingent on B, and it would be self-consistent, but we come back to the fact that your definition of magic is very idiosyncratic. If a beast who has no magical tampering at any point can be magical, and therefore, more powerful, why can't a fighter with no magical tampering at any point be magical, and therefore, more powerful?


Anyway, using gods is pretty unfair comparison. Gods created the world. They pretty much can do anything they want.
Not really. They can do what they wish /within their purview/. It still doesn't change the fact that the greatest Norse god (For combat prowess) did it by beating the hell out of things. Was Mjollnir magical? According to DnD, sure. But the Dwarves who made it weren't mages, and created the effect purely on their own.


Gods didn't need to train or do anything to get their powers. Ok, sometimes they do, but gods always have uber inherent powers. They were freacking born like that. Thor also gets an uber +200 hammer as a gift from daddy with god knows how much special powers.
So what? We're discussing the path that one follows to attain the end result, right?

I don't know much about Beowulf, but didn't he made a pact with a magical being if I'm not in mistake?[/quote]
I don't remember that, and Wikipedia doesn't state it, at the least.


And Zhang Fei was magic. The main problem is that chinese never call magic magic. They call it ki or inner spirit or whatever and anyone who can focus enough can use it to create supernatural effects.
No, Zhang Fei was magic according to DnD, at best (Except not; He has crappy Wis, Int, and Cha. In no sense can he cast spells as DnD refers to them). Furthermore, whether or not someone is Supernatural or not is utterly irrelevant; What matters is how they achieved their power. If Zhang Fei is Magic, he became so by being a preternaturally skilled Fighter, not by studying the Tao Te Ching and learning about the flows of energy in the world, etc etc. The final terminology is meaningless. What matters is the path taken to it.



Anyway,the main question to you, does a wizard who buffs himself to heaven is considered a melee?
Because most of your examples get their powers from magic sources one way or another.

Maybe we should just drop DnD comparisons. The terminology DnD uses makes any argument about patently magical beings because that's what DnD calls everything superhuman.

WalkingTarget
2008-03-10, 03:40 PM
I don't know much about Beowulf, but didn't he made a pact with a magical being if I'm not in mistake?

In the movie. In the original poem he's just pure awesome (Grendel: rips his arm off, Grendel's Mum: hits her with a big sword, Dragon: stabby-stabby).

For a Greek Hero without divine heritage, look at Jason.

He... um... well...

Hmm. Maybe not such a great example.

Wait. He has the power of Organize Other Heroes. I can see him with his clipboard and whistle now.

Indon
2008-03-10, 03:44 PM
Wait. He has the power of Organize Other Heroes. I can see him with his clipboard and whistle now.

Hercules: I have class features that are as powerful than you!
Jason: Other way around. I have you as my class feature.

WalkingTarget
2008-03-10, 03:53 PM
Hercules: I have class features that are as powerful than you!
Jason: Other way around. I have you as my class feature.

Ha! :smallsmile:

Best part is the poor grammar in Herc's dialog. Renowned for his intellect he was not.

Rutee
2008-03-10, 04:11 PM
The result is the Barbarian who says, "I charge-attack, it's dead." versus the Wizard who says, "I cast <Appropriate Spell>, and now that I am situationally invulnerable I plink my opponent to death with my crossbow." Both follow the tropes of ancient fantasy - the physical combatant is simple, straightforward, and victorious in conditions condusive to him, while the Wizard is clever, and wins by trickery (which we would call 'being cheap').

Older cultures respected strength. Our culture respects power, and we know knowledge is power. Versatility is far more condusive to success than strength alone - what if while Samson was wailing away with his jawbone-weapon, they'd lured him into some kind of deathtrap where his strength couldn't help him (like having him fall into a ravine with heavy growth then setting the ravine on fire with arrows)? Odysseus was a very rare kind of hero in his day - but in ours the clever hero is practically a stereotype. Merlin used to be viewed as a walking plot device... now he's viewed as a walking toolbox (full of 'sufficiently advanced technology').
Older Myth tends to establish physical prowess as being versatile, just like magic, though, and just as capable of handling diverse situations. DnD enforces the martial hero as being /only/ a martial hero. Why shouldn't he have versatility too, but in different ways? An Exalted example, I'm making an intelligent, quick witted, Socialite. And she can hold her own in combat too. DnD says that I can, at /best/, have 2 of those things, and I probably have to heavily optimize. Will she fight as well as the Dawn? Of course not. Is she as smart as the scholar? No. But each of these characters is capable at more then just their one speciality, and has a versatility all their own. And they don't need to draw arcane power through the cosmos to do it.

DnD says "You can be good at Martial things, dealing with people (Bard), or Magic." It then says that Magic, and only Magic, can also do the other 2. Why is that? I don't recall Gilgamesh being barred from using magical items (The Chain of Heaven), or being an affable, charming person, on grounds of being capable at holding his own in melee.


Edit: I get it! We say Magic is better because Magic isn't real. We can easily accept Magic doing anything because there's no real world basis to say "No it can't". That's where this disconnect is coming from. Can a sufficiently talented martial artist build a city in 3 seconds? Of course not, because they can't in the Real World. But such statements didn't stop the Yellow Emperor, who made a city by punching the ground. WHy shouldn't I be able to talk the sky, earth, and trees into creating a city for me on their own? Because it's not realistic? Neither is doing it by finger waggling!

Indon
2008-03-10, 04:33 PM
Older Myth tends to establish physical prowess as being versatile, just like magic, though, and just as capable of handling diverse situations.

Oh?

Offhand, magic has classically been used to:
-Create disguises (Merlin disguised Uther as a rival lord).
-Entrap/Seal/Preserve individuals (Nimue trapped Merlin, inside a crystal I believe).
-Facilitate mass combat (Gongsun Zan used sorcery to fight Yuan Shao's alliance during the Yellow Turban rebellion, if I have my RoT3K right).
-Protect from death (Forget that lion's skin, the Scabbard of Excalibur is way better, and clearly Su).

I can't think of much that physical prowess can do along those lines... well, outside of watching The Flash or that one Sonic the Hedgehog saturday morning cartoon - speed is a pretty versatile superpower...

Rutee
2008-03-10, 04:43 PM
Oh?

Offhand, magic has classically been used to:
-Create disguises (Merlin disguised Uther as a rival lord).
-Entrap/Seal/Preserve individuals (Nimue trapped Merlin, inside a crystal I believe).
-Facilitate mass combat (Gongsun Zan used sorcery to fight Yuan Shao's alliance during the Yellow Turban rebellion, if I have my RoT3K right).
-Protect from death (Forget that lion's skin, the Scabbard of Excalibur is way better, and clearly Su).

I can't think of much that physical prowess can do along those lines... well, outside of watching The Flash or that one Sonic the Hedgehog saturday morning cartoon - speed is a pretty versatile superpower...

I listed an example right there. The Yellow Emperor creating the capitol city by /punching the ground/. (Also that was Zhang Jiao. Gongsun Zan was one of the many people who opposed Zhang Jiao, not one of the ones leading his men against the alliance). Zhang Fei facilitated mass combat himself, with a scream. Entrap someone? Another punch to the ground. Stone rises up to entrap them.

I could facilitate mass combat with socialness, by talking soldiers into surrender. I wouldn't need a disguise if I can convince the guards that I'm someone else. Etc, etc.

Magic is only more versatile because we don't restrict ourselves to realism with it. Why do we do so with everything else?

Indon
2008-03-10, 04:48 PM
Ah, Zhang Jiao was his name. I don't know if his powers can be described as physical prowess - isn't he explicitly called a sorceror, and his powers described as sorcery? In that case, punching the ground is like a somatic component.

Meanwhile, the character described in the narrative as having the most physical prowess (Lu Bu, I do believe?), is a brute.

Though, you do have a point - there's really nothing preventing Norrisisms from occuring except our own perceptions. "Yes, I too can charm individuals. I do so by roundhouse kicking them. Hard."

Dan_Hemmens
2008-03-10, 04:56 PM
That's where rules of the game come from, to keep mages on a leash. That's what I think is actually worst about such discussions; most mages in myths or classical fantasy are impossible to be stated out in D&D, or in most RPG systems in fact. Because, as you said, they generally weren't going around throwing spells at everything as D&D wizards do.

Ironically, though, the rules of most games give spellcasters much more leeway than their parallels in fiction. By delineating the powers of a mage, the game explains exactly what they can do and - more importantly - precisely how easily they can do it. Hence the old "Gandalf was a third level mage" joke.

Indon
2008-03-10, 04:58 PM
Ironically, though, the rules of most games give spellcasters much more leeway than their parallels in fiction. By delineating the powers of a mage, the game explains exactly what they can do and - more importantly - precisely how easily they can do it. Hence the old "Gandalf was a third level mage" joke.

Well, games in which every act of real magic is a divine act which permanently diminishes you would probably not be very popular in a game.

Rutee
2008-03-10, 05:02 PM
Ah, Zhang Jiao was his name. I don't know if his powers can be described as physical prowess - isn't he explicitly called a sorceror, and his powers described as sorcery? In that case, punching the ground is like a somatic component.
Ah, that would be my bad presentation. The Yellow Emperor is a mythic chinese figure who has a whole /lot/ of things creditted to him (Including the creation of the capitol of the.. Shang Dynasty I think? And written language. And other things). Zhang Jiao wasn't the yellow emperor, despite leading the Yellow Turbans. I totally forgot that the two could be confused based on that. Zhang Jiao was patently magical, yes. The Yellow Emperor was just that bad-ass.

Zhang Jiao would, if he were to try it, do it with sorcery. And my theoretical socialite does it by talking the world into conforming to what they want. All 3 are equally realistic.


Meanwhile, the character described in the narrative as having the most physical prowess (Lu Bu, I do believe?), is a brute.
On the other hand, Guan Yu is /nearly/ his equal in pure combat prowess, and is remembered as a versatile commander. He's deified as a God of War now, to boot.


Though, you do have a point - there's really nothing preventing Norrisisms from occuring except our own perceptions. "Yes, I too can charm individuals. I do so by roundhouse kicking them. Hard."

Honestly I can't even debate "I charm them by roundhouse kicking" in real life. Just look at Chuck's popularity. :smallbiggrin:

In seriousness, yes, that is, in effect, my point (And yeah, I started remembering Chuck Norris jokes after posting that). Martial Power is stopped because we limit it's capabilities to real life. The same applies to the capabilities of those who are fast talkers. Magic isn't real, so it doesn't face real life limits. That's actually a reasonable stance, on its own, but why not just lift real life limits for other methods too? It won't suddenly make the world less realistic, after all. Consistency, on the other hand, is up to the players to establish.

Dan_Hemmens
2008-03-10, 05:07 PM
Oh?

Offhand, magic has classically been used to:
-Create disguises (Merlin disguised Uther as a rival lord).
-Entrap/Seal/Preserve individuals (Nimue trapped Merlin, inside a crystal I believe).
-Facilitate mass combat (Gongsun Zan used sorcery to fight Yuan Shao's alliance during the Yellow Turban rebellion, if I have my RoT3K right).
-Protect from death (Forget that lion's skin, the Scabbard of Excalibur is way better, and clearly Su).

I can't think of much that physical prowess can do along those lines... well, outside of watching The Flash or that one Sonic the Hedgehog saturday morning cartoon - speed is a pretty versatile superpower...

The problem is you're not comparing like with like. You're comparing everything that has ever been achieved by magic in any medium with things that can reasonably be achieved by swinging a sword at something.

The problem is further compounded because, as people have pointed out at length above, it's easy to get trapped into calling everything which isn't possible in the real world "magic".

A closer comparison would be to compare "using magic" with "not using magic" in which case everything you describe can fairly obviously be achieved without using magic: you can make a disguise, you can trap people, you can preserve stuff, fight battles, and stop people dying, without using any kind of magic at all.

The problem is that "magic" gets treated as a single schtick when it's really several. It's always easier to create a character who can disguise himself, imprison people, destroy things, turn the tide of battles, and protect his allies by magic, than to create a character who is simultaneously a master of disguise, an expert tactician, and a master swordsman. Those who rely on mundane skill are forced to specialize (you can pick locks, or do social interaction, or fight, but not all three) but mages get to have the lock picking spell and the socially interacting spell and the fighting spell.

Of course in the source material, magic winds up being very limited. Merlin's "disguise" trick is pretty much all he does. Other than that he wanders about being enigmatic.

Dan_Hemmens
2008-03-10, 05:09 PM
Well, games in which every act of real magic is a divine act which permanently diminishes you would probably not be very popular in a game.

I'd take it in a heartbeat over games where magic is so trivial that there's no reason for it not to be used for everything. Particularly if said game is still set in a quasi-medieval society where 99% of the population are farmers.

Chosen_of_Vecna
2008-03-10, 05:14 PM
Here's the thing as I see it:

No one has ever argued that Magic should be more powerful in D&D because it is in fiction.

That's a straw-man. People have argued that it is easy to see why magic would be stronger, and that as per the rules of D&D it is stronger, and that is not something that needs changing.

Others have argued that it is something that needs changing. This whole discussion about fiction has shown numerous examples of martial people being powerful and victorious, but nothing to show that in a world based on the D&D ruleset they should be (with the exception of references to Raistlin)

So lets stop arguing about which is more powerful in fiction (or keep arguing that but leave D&D out of it) and ask this. Does it make sense for magic to be more powerful in certain worlds? Is it okay for D&D to be one of them? If it isn't okay, can we just accept that D&D 3.5 is going to be that way anyway and you'll have to wait for 4th?

Lapak
2008-03-10, 05:15 PM
Since someone else has already pointed out that many of the physical heroes did not gain power through 'magic' (Beowulf, Hercules, etc.) I'll add this: in older stories and even in newer ones, raw might is used to solve non-combat problems.

Hercules diverted the course of a river to cleanse the stables. (Also to rip a dead man's body off of a magical cursed bench in Hades; there's raw power overcoming magic in a non-combat sense.)

Finn MacCool built the Giant's Causeway.

Paul Bunyan chopped down a dozen trees at a shot.

John Henry drilled by hand against the drilling machine.

And, for the more amusing 'feats of non-magical strength', Thor drank a third of the oceans dry in a drinking contest.

Crow
2008-03-10, 05:17 PM
Before we talk about Heracles not being too smart, please remember that he often used deception and lateral thinking to overcome challenges.

Also, regarding Conan; When faced with the supernatural, Conan actually ran more times than not. The times where he overcame sorcerers he usually had some sort of help.

Beowulf; Wiglaf helped him slay the dragon, otherwise he was toast.

Chosen_of_Vecna
2008-03-10, 05:20 PM
I'd take it in a heartbeat over games where magic is so trivial that there's no reason for it not to be used for everything. Particularly if said game is still set in a quasi-medieval society where 99% of the population are farmers.

Why do you think 99% of the people are farmers? Have you looked at FR or Ebberon or Greyhawk? They do have farmers, not that many. In any of these worlds I'd figure Urbanization at 50% or more.

Disdain
2008-03-10, 05:20 PM
I believe that mages as being more powerful than fighters is a generally recent trend. Indeed, most older myths painted warriors as being immensly powerful, but this wasn't because they liked warriors more, its simply because the idea of shooting fireballs was less believable than simply being very good at killing people.

Pointing to more modern fiction, Elric of Melnibourne was a frail albino sorceror and was immensly powerful. Gandalf was absurdly badass, and Sauron killed Gilgalad by immolating him. In the Magic of Recluce series, magic was the ONLY way one could become a seriously effective combatant, and, if we want to look at some bad young fantasy, in the Harry Potter and Inheritance series melee fighters couldn't hold a candle to spellcasters.

With all that said, I'd have to say that I like martial combatants mostly due to the recent trend of wanking spellcasters. The idea of a man who triumphs over evils armed with reality altering powers and strange items with pure skill, strength, and will is very attactive to me.

Dan_Hemmens
2008-03-10, 05:21 PM
So lets stop arguing about which is more powerful in fiction (or keep arguing that but leave D&D out of it) and ask this. Does it make sense for magic to be more powerful in certain worlds? Is it okay for D&D to be one of them? If it isn't okay, can we just accept that D&D 3.5 is going to be that way anyway and you'll have to wait for 4th?

So, on what are we going to base this discussion exactly? Our only basis for what "makes sense" regarding magic is (a) fiction and (b) people's real world religious beliefs. Since (b) is outside the terms of use, that limits us to (a).

Otherwise, how exactly do you say what "makes sense" about magic, given that it's, well, magic, and you can therefore define it as working however you like.

Rutee
2008-03-10, 05:30 PM
I'm still confused on why "Non-magic" is more restricted then "Magic". It's based on perceptions, no? Fiction supports everything being just as powerful. Why don't we use that?

endoperez
2008-03-10, 05:49 PM
In myths, stories, sagas, the heroes are powerful. These heroes beat their opponents, and whether the heroes use magic or not isn't relevant.

Let's take Herakles - he was strong, and once he knew what he had to do he could use his strength to achieve what would be impossible to normal humans, and what would seem as magic, like diverting a whole river to clean stables for him. "Oh, that's not magic, he's just that strong without any magic." You could as well say "Oh, that's magic, it's the magical blood of his god-father flowing through his veins."
The Nemean lion, whose pelt is like metal? Similar arguments can be made for both sides: "Oh, that's not magic, it's just that tough without any magic" isn't any better or worse than "Oh, that's magic, it's not a normal lion after all and it's like metal." Whether we define Herakles' power as "magical" or not, it makes no difference because there aren't "antimagic fields" in the stories. Item is item, strength is strength, effect is effect, and whether they end or not is situational instead of "magical".

So what if Samson killed 3000 men with the jaws of a donkey - if he was a fighter, then Moses was a cleric, and an epic one at that. If Moses got his strength from God and it wasn't his own, then what about the angel who told Samson's mother how to conceive a son and make him superhumanly strong?


If we look at all the older fantasy works we will see that it is fighters, not mages that are the most powerful.

I'm surprised at the lack of counter-examples. Here's an exerpt from Rune 3 of Kalevala (http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/kveng/kvrune03.htm), which was composed from ancient Finnish poems in the early 1800s. Most of the poems are much older, but I didn't find any spesific numbers on that. Spoilered for length, but I bolded the relevant parts.

Then the youthful Youkahainen,
Mouth awry and visage sneering,
Shook his golden locks and answered:
"Whoso fears his blade to measure,
Fears to test his strength at broadswords,
Into wild-boar of the forest,
Swine at heart and swine in visage,
Singing I will thus transform him;
I will hurl such hero-cowards,
This one hither, that one thither,
Stamp him in the mire and bedding,
In the rubbish of the stable."

Angry then grew Wainamoinen,
Wrathful waxed, and fiercely frowning,
Self-composed he broke his silence,
And began his wondrous singing.
Grandly sang wise Wainamoinen,
Till the copper-bearing mountains,
And the flinty rocks and ledges
Heard his magic tones and trembled;
Mountain cliffs were torn to pieces,
All the ocean heaved and tumbled;
And the distant hills re-echoed.
Lo! the boastful Youkahainen
Is transfixed in silent wonder,
...
Still the minstrel sings enchantment,
Sings his sword with golden handle,
Sings it into gleam of lightning,
Hangs it in the sky above him;
Sings his cross-bow, gaily painted,
To a rainbow o'er the ocean;
Sings his quick and feathered arrows
Into hawks and screaming eagles;
...
And alas! for Youkahainen,
Sings him into deeps of quick-sand;
Ever deeper, deeper, deeper,
In his torture, sinks the wizard,
To his belt in mud and water.
Now it was that Youkahainen
Comprehended but too clearly
What his folly, what the end was,
Of the journey he had ventured,
Vainly he had undertaken
For the glory of a contest
With the grand, old Wainamoinen.

Chosen_of_Vecna
2008-03-10, 05:56 PM
Otherwise, how exactly do you say what "makes sense" about magic, given that it's, well, magic, and you can therefore define it as working however you like.

Or we could use our own conceptions instead of relying on someone else's.

Fictional writing is about presenting one possible way things could be. So instead of saying, "Well if 51% of all authors think X then it must be true." We could actually see if there could be a possible reason why Magic is stronger.

Question one was largely rhetorical, of course it makes sense in some worlds for magic to be stronger, just as it makes sense in some for non-magical physical prowess to be better. Or they could be equal. The second question, and my point, is why do you insist that D&D should be the third when the rules clearly make it the first.

Roderick_BR
2008-03-10, 06:05 PM
My impression from classic mythological stories is that the heroes are often high warriors, i.e., they could withstand attacks that would kill a lessen person.
When he fights a wizard of some sort, the wizard is supposed to be all powerful (he is the BBeG after all), and supposedly, higher level. In D&D, however, a wizard of equal level is powerful enough to be a BBeG for any fighter.
When the fighter does get an spell caster ally, they are often unexperienced/apprentices (lower level), or if they are in equal terms with the hero (like a spellcaster "Lancer"), they usually look more like a sorcerer. Anything the fighter can fight in brawl, the caster can fight with his magic, without overwhelm the challenge. After that, the caster usually has more utilitary spells, while the fighter can keep fighting all day, and usually has enough skills to make up for his lack of magic.
In short, in non-D&D fantasy, wizards are sorcerers, and it works fine.

holywhippet
2008-03-10, 06:14 PM
I don't know whether it was just the way the game was balanced, but the second Darksun PC game (Wake of the Ravager) had a decent balance between preservers (mages) and fighter types. A preserver might damage many enemies at once with a fireball, but a fighter or gladiator could do a lot more damage to a single opponent.

Using Feist as a reference again, I think he talked about mages in battle like this - mages on side A throw a spell at side B, mages on side B counter the spell, more mages on side A attempt to counter the counterspell, other mages on side B counter the counter-counterspell. Fighters on both sides charge in and cut the mages to pieces.

In fantasy books, mages wouldn't even get a second glance if they weren't significantly stronger than fighters or at least capable of useful tricks. Otherwise, what is the point of being a mage?

In D&D so far, I don't think its so much mages being overpowered, as fighters being underpowered. That's probably because most encounters aren't extremely lengthy. A fighter can keep on hacking as long as they have HP, a mage can't do much after they run out of spells and magical items.

Fhaolan
2008-03-10, 10:01 PM
Many old myths and legends differentiated between the natural power available to spirits, fey, and even humans with discipline and training, and the deliberate application of arcane knowledge. D&D doesn't differentiate quite the same way.

90% of the conflict in these warrior vs wizard threads are all based on the problem that everyone defines 'magic' differently. Is anything superhuman magic?

If a warrior is so bad-ass that his sword bursts into flame, is it magic?

When a witch cures a plague with a brewed potion, is it magic?

When a hero rides a wave of spears thrown by her companions like a surfboard, is it magic?

When a sorcerer commands an demon to obey by invoking the names of several demon princes, is it magic?

In each of these cases, you could say it's magic. You could also say that the sword is moving so fast that friction causes it to burst into flame. You could say that the witch is a talented herbalist with medical knowledge. You could say that the hero is a Wu Fu master with perfect physiological control. You could say that the sorcerer is bluffing the demon with political power.

Are ghosts magical?

If ghosts are magical, and they are simply the souls of the dead, does that make souls magical?

Does that make anything with a soul magical? How about life in general?

Where do you draw the line?

And that's the problem. If everyone's drawing the line in different places, you'll never get agreement because you're all defining your terms differently.

If you define magic as 'anything I want', then yes, mages who can do 'anything they want' are going to be far more powerful than warriors who can only control their own muscles to the limit of Real Life ability. There's no way past that point. There are fictional worlds set up that way. There are also fictional worlds set up so that warriors are 'safer' than mages, because the drawbacks and dangers of magic are so overwhelming. It all depends on the kind of world you want to game in.

Personally, I like to game in worlds where power isn't easy to come by, that it takes time, effort, and sacrifice to achieve great power whether it's magical, political, or military. That's just me. Some people like playing games where magic is much easier and less risky. Some people like playing games where magic is so hard and risky that only the most demented villans will attempt it. Different gaming styles.

ashmanonar
2008-03-10, 10:07 PM
As a wise man once said, "No matter how subtle the wizard, a knife between the shoulder blades will seriously cramp his style."


Isn't that a Harry Dresden quote?

Rutee
2008-03-10, 10:27 PM
In D&D so far, I don't think its so much mages being overpowered, as fighters being underpowered. That's probably because most encounters aren't extremely lengthy. A fighter can keep on hacking as long as they have HP, a mage can't do much after they run out of spells and magical items.

That never struck me as a useful balancing factor. The fighter still depends on the Cleric's spells to keep them alive, after all.

Lapak
2008-03-10, 10:27 PM
Isn't that a Harry Dresden quote?It's a Stephen Brust quote, via his assassin protagonist Vladimir Taltos.

Very enjoyable books. If you like the Dresden Files, you'll probably like those too.

EDIT: I seem to remember Dresden referencing it/riffing on the same basic theme.

Indon
2008-03-10, 10:40 PM
That never struck me as a useful balancing factor. The fighter still depends on the Cleric's spells to keep them alive, after all.

You can't buy a wand that contains hundreds of spell levels, though. :P

Rutee
2008-03-10, 10:59 PM
I'm afraid I don't follow.

ashmanonar
2008-03-10, 11:03 PM
It's a Stephen Brust quote, via his assassin protagonist Vladimir Taltos.

Very enjoyable books. If you like the Dresden Files, you'll probably like those too.

EDIT: I seem to remember Dresden referencing it/riffing on the same basic theme.

I'm pretty sure he does. I don't remember which book he references it in though.

Falrin
2008-03-10, 11:15 PM
Question:

Can't we just assume that Casters-Antagonists have a much higher LvL then the Melee-Underdog?

Why would we compare a heroic grunt (say LvL 4) to a meteor slinging wizard (say LvL 19)?

Case in point: OoTS.

Oslecamo
2008-03-11, 06:39 AM
I'm still confused on why "Non-magic" is more restricted then "Magic". It's based on perceptions, no? Fiction supports everything being just as powerful. Why don't we use that?

If magic doesn't give you any significal advantage, why would anyone bother to learn it?

In most literature magicians are guys who studied for lots of time and had to sacrifice valuable things like part of their souls or lifespan or get their hands on powerfull artifacts in order to control magic.

The warrior guys however will look a lot cooler with all those muscles and they don't seem to need to sacrifice parts of their souls or spend years in dusty towers studying or look for powerfull artifacts and components to learn their art.

So, why would anyone sacrifice so much to study magic if it didn't give you any significat advantage over the guy who learned his art from rinking booze and having fun in the bar?

tyckspoon
2008-03-11, 06:51 AM
If magic doesn't give you any significal advantage, why would anyone bother to learn it?

In most literature magicians are guys who studied for lots of time and had to sacrifice valuable things like part of their souls or lifespan or get their hands on powerfull artifacts in order to control magic.

The warrior guys however will look a lot cooler with all those muscles and they don't seem to need to sacrifice parts of their souls or spend years in dusty towers studying or look for powerfull artifacts and components to learn their art.

So, why would anyone sacrifice so much to study magic if it didn't give you any significat advantage over the guy who learned his art from rinking booze and having fun in the bar?

To aim that back at D&D, in particular: Why then should magical D&D characters be so much more potent than non-magical D&D characters? There is no such sacrifice involved in learning magic in D&D. There is some time, but not so much that you end up locked away from the world for better than half your life just to achieve a beginner's level of proficiency. There is no danger, there is no rarity; D&D magic is controlled with bits of junk and dross that you can mostly gather by sweeping the ceiling for cobwebs or walking around in some woods for a half an hour, or by spending a few minutes fiddling with scrap bits of wire. Indeed, in D&D the martial classes arguably undergo more strenuous and dangerous training, since one reasonably assumes live weapons practice was involved at some point.

Dan_Hemmens
2008-03-11, 06:52 AM
If magic doesn't give you any significal advantage, why would anyone bother to learn it?

And conversely, if magic does give you a significant advantage, why would anybody bother to learn everything else.

[uote]In most literature magicians are guys who studied for lots of time and had to sacrifice valuable things like part of their souls or lifespan or get their hands on powerfull artifacts in order to control magic.[/quote]

And most fighters are guys who studied for lots of time and had to sacrifice valuable things like having-any-semblance-of-a-normal-life in order to master their craft.


The warrior guys however will look a lot cooler with all those muscles and they don't seem to need to sacrifice parts of their souls or spend years in dusty towers studying or look for powerfull artifacts and components to learn their art.

No, they spend years on draughty training grounds instead, or looking for wise martial arts masters and legendary weapons.


So, why would anyone sacrifice so much to study magic if it didn't give you any significat advantage over the guy who learned his art from rinking booze and having fun in the bar?

Why would one sacrifice so much to study swordplay, if it didn't give you any significant advantage in a straight fight over a guy who learned his art by reading books in a nice warm room?

Magic is supposed to be powerful because magic is supposed to be hard work, but in practice, in RPGs, it isn't. Does a D&D wizard have to sacrifice anything for his spell slots?

The appeal of magic is that it allows you to do the impossible, which includes a great many things, but fewer than you realise. People shouldn't study magic to get better in a fight, they should study magic so they can bring their wife back from the dead.

Roderick_BR
2008-03-11, 07:58 AM
As a wise man once said, "No matter how subtle the wizard, a knife between the shoulder blades will seriously cramp his style."
Except in D&D 3.x, where the wizard has 1324 ways of avoiding being stabbed, approached, noticed, and in the unlikely event someone approaches him with the afore mentioned knife, he can dodge, tumble, defensively cast, teleport, dispell, and contingency his way away of it. While destroying the knife and crippling the guy that was unfortunate enough to be holding it.

Basic problem: Wizards have great power with his spells. To "balance" things out, he has little resistance against some dangers (mostly anything that hits low ACs, and deal high damage against his low HPs), *however*, wizards have a huge list of tricks to avoid being hit at all.
It's like this: The character gains a huge flaw in exchange of a huge power, however, he can easily make his huge flaw doesn't matter much at all. It's like playing a point buy system, like GURPS, for example, fill your character with flaws, but never actually suffer the handcaps in-game. Classic example in super-hero games: Give your character low strenght, low health, loads of phisical weaknesses, then use these gained points to make a kick-ass armor that makes you immune to everything. Yay?

Oslecamo
2008-03-11, 08:49 AM
To aim that back at D&D, in particular: Why then should magical D&D characters be so much more potent than non-magical D&D characters? There is no such sacrifice involved in learning magic in D&D. There is some time, but not so much that you end up locked away from the world for better than half your life just to achieve a beginner's level of proficiency. There is no danger, there is no rarity; D&D magic is controlled with bits of junk and dross that you can mostly gather by sweeping the ceiling for cobwebs or walking around in some woods for a half an hour, or by spending a few minutes fiddling with scrap bits of wire. Indeed, in D&D the martial classes arguably undergo more strenuous and dangerous training, since one reasonably assumes live weapons practice was involved at some point.

Hmm, last time I checked, playing an effecient wizard in D&D demands you to be paranoid as hell. Also, caster classes always ahve the biggest starting ages if I'm not mistaken, wich shows they spent more time training.

D&D wizards will hide most of the time in extraplanar spaces, they won't go anywhere whitout a dozen buffs up, then they have to bother scrying their enemies to know their weakness and then prepare spells to overcome these weakness and then find a way to get close and etc etc etc. This may take from a few days to several weeks in order to get everything prepared and isent of risks.

While if you play Mr Frenzied Berseker, the oposite of a caster in D&D, you can simply burst trough the evil castle's wall, land in the middle of the enemies and make mince meat out of them, all in just a few seconds.

Also, there's the coolness factor. Fact is, 99% of the people out there want to play the awesome melee guy who slaughters hordes of enemies with a flick of the wrist.

In the other hand, nobody wants to play the dork who got his powers from studying old books and tries to stay away from melee as much as possible. You can see it everywhere in fantasy. You're a real man only if you charge straight ahead against the enemy and don't resort to dirty tricks like just blowing up the place where he is or sniping from several miles away. No sir, you have to get close and then beat the BBEG with something pointy to be considered heroic.

And since we're at it, I must say that already in ancient literature magic is stronger than melee:

-Moises, as already refered, the first cleric, pwning the egyptians armies with flame strike, miracle, storm of vengeance, summoning monsters, releasing plagues and rains of fire.

-Celtic mythology states that druids could change into anything they wanted, turn invisible and even travel trough time.

-From primordial times the most feard people in a human group would be the local shaman, wich would contact with the spirits, curse, heal, all thanks to a combination of strange words, gestures and items, aka magic. Altough the shaman may not be the leader, he was highly respected and his word would count more than everyone but the Chief, who would be the most manipulative guy around.

However, nobody wanted to hear how skinny mr.magic snaped his fingers and solved the problem. They wanted to hear how macho muscled mr.melee solved the problem flexing his muscles.

Lapak
2008-03-11, 08:59 AM
The appeal of magic is that it allows you to do the impossible, which includes a great many things, but fewer than you realise. People shouldn't study magic to get better in a fight, they should study magic so they can bring their wife back from the dead.You know, this I'd like a lot, even if it would be drastically different than D&D. Drop magic item effects altogether, or for anything short of artifacts. Drop all direct damage spells, give all mind-effecting and entrapment spells a save that can be fairly readily made by an equal-level opponent.

Now the wizard is the only person who can fly, teleport, summon creatures from the ether to serve or protect him, create items out of nothingness, scry on faraway places, turn invisible, grab something from across the room, creates clouds and walls to hide in or behind, and so on. Warriors straight-up just don't have that option. And against lesser foes, he can dominate their minds, destroy their judgment, paralyze their limbs, or turn them to stone. But in a toe-to-toe fight against a powerful opponent who can grit his teeth and bull through his enchantments, with no servants or summoned creatures to guard him, he's in some serious trouble.

That feels more like a wizard from classic fantasy.

Fhaolan
2008-03-11, 09:01 AM
Hmm, last time I checked, playing an effecient wizard in D&D demands you to be paranoid as hell. Also, caster classes always ahve the biggest starting ages if I'm not mistaken, wich shows they spent more time training.

It's true that wizards have a higher starting age, but unfortunately that differential is not large enough to have any significant game effect. And from the starting point onwards, magical power is *faster* to learn than nonmagical power. Not because wizards go up levels faster, but because every level of full spellcaster is increasingly more powerful than non-spellcaster levels. That gives the impression that magic is in fact easier to learn than non-magic. Which is counter to the idea that wizards are more powerful than fighters because they put more effort into their careers.

Indon
2008-03-11, 09:11 AM
That feels more like a wizard from classic fantasy.

The problem is, in game terms a classic fantasy wizard does not feel very interesting to play.

The strongman fixes his problems with overwhelming force. The charismatic fixes his problems by convincing them to go away. The wizard 'sploits.

That's why Wizards make such good antagonists - Sorcery is not fair, and has a long and proud history of being not fair. In Cowboys and Indians, the kid who doesn't acknowledge getting shot is the Wizard (using Mirror Image, perhaps, or Wind Wall). When you transfer this over to a game, you open the possibility for excellent antagonists and big bad evil guys... but then you also make things availible to the players.

Chosen_of_Vecna
2008-03-11, 09:23 AM
-Moises, as already refered, the first cleric, pwning the egyptians armies with flame strike, miracle, storm of vengeance, summoning monsters, releasing plagues and rains of fire.

Don't forget Polymorph Any Objecting a Staff into a Snake. Man Pharaoh got made later, "I thought we agreed no Polymorph!"

Indon
2008-03-11, 09:52 AM
You know, I finally thought of a contemporary character with purely physical powers but magic-like effects:

The Flash.

He has a pseudoscientific excuse for his powers - "Molecular Vibration". Need something heated up? Molecular Vibration. Need something shaken apart? Molecular Vibration. Need to phase through solid objects? Molecular Vibration!

Many speed heroes seem more wizardly - and more fittingly wizardly - than their strength-oriented counterparts. I suspect this is because strength doesn't have an all-purpose gimmick that can be associated with magic-like effects, like the Flash has his Molecular Vibration.

Oslecamo
2008-03-11, 12:11 PM
Don't forget Polymorph Any Objecting a Staff into a Snake. Man Pharaoh got made later, "I thought we agreed no Polymorph!"

Cough rod of the python cough. Never wondered from where it came?

Rutee
2008-03-11, 12:29 PM
If magic doesn't give you any significal advantage, why would anyone bother to learn it?

In most literature magicians are guys who studied for lots of time and had to sacrifice valuable things like part of their souls or lifespan or get their hands on powerfull artifacts in order to control magic.

The warrior guys however will look a lot cooler with all those muscles and they don't seem to need to sacrifice parts of their souls or spend years in dusty towers studying or look for powerfull artifacts and components to learn their art.

So, why would anyone sacrifice so much to study magic if it didn't give you any significat advantage over the guy who learned his art from rinking booze and having fun in the bar?

In most literature, the martialists will also have studied for years, and as Dan points out, if Magic is this much better, /nobody would waste their time on anything else/.

Why /shouldn't/ I be able to do anything I want with sufficient mastery of my body? Or with sufficient mastery over the social arts? Magic isn't real, so if we accept that, why do we limit ourselves to realistic limits of other things? It's not like most fictional magi have powers that are all that wide either, if we look at the grand scheme of things. If I want to punch the ground to make a city, why not? If I want to talk the sun into rotating around the earth 90 times in one hour, why not?

And for that matter, if Zhang Fei and the Nemean Lion became Magic with no outside magical interference, why can't the Fighter do it, if that's what it takes to be powerful?



Also, there's the coolness factor. Fact is, 99% of the people out there want to play the awesome melee guy who slaughters hordes of enemies with a flick of the wrist
Surely your argument can't be "Make the classes people want to play suck", can it?

NoDot
2008-03-11, 12:42 PM
While if you play Mr Frenzied Berseker, the oposite of a caster in D&D, you can simply burst trough the evil castle's wall, land in the middle of the enemies and make mince meat out of them, all in just a few seconds.I find this hard to believe. If you spend zero time preparing, then you're going to go wandering around in the middle of nowhere hoping to miraculously bump into the enemy's castle, since you didn't take any time to look at where the enemy actually is-that's preparation, remember?

If the enemy's castle is in the middle of a frozen tundra, it's preparation to pack cold gear.

If the enemy's fortress is in the middle of a desert, you can't pack desert gear, because that's preparation.

You're Frenzied Berserker is dead from stupidity. Everyone who wants to survive must prepare. It's just a matter of what you need to swap out and what means you have of gathering information. (And mages have too many!)


Also, there's the coolness factor. Fact is, 99% of the people out there want to play the awesome melee guy who slaughters hordes of enemies with a flick of the wrist.

In the other hand, nobody wants to play the dork who got his powers from studying old books and tries to stay away from melee as much as possible.I question these assumptions.


You can see it everywhere in fantasy.Like?

Oslecamo
2008-03-11, 12:47 PM
In most literature, the martialists will also have studied for years, and as Dan points out, if Magic is this much better, /nobody would waste their time on anything else/.

Why /shouldn't/ I be able to do anything I want with sufficient mastery of my body? Or with sufficient mastery over the social arts? Magic isn't real, so if we accept that, why do we limit ourselves to realistic limits of other things? It's not like most fictional magi have powers that are all that wide either, if we look at the grand scheme of things. If I want to punch the ground to make a city, why not? If I want to talk the sun into rotating around the earth 90 times in one hour, why not?

And for that matter, if Zhang Fei and the Nemean Lion became Magic with no outside magical interference, why can't the Fighter do it, if that's what it takes to be powerful?

First, not everyone learns magic in fantasy because it not only takes a lot of work, it also normally demands sacrifice. Wizards and sorcerors always seem half mad or have lost part of their souls or had to sacrifice something else very dear to them and that cannot be replaced, in trade of their magical powers.

In a game of course people don't give a crap about selling their souls and sacrificing their own family or mental sanity and stuff like that, but in fantasy stories just a few people are willing to pay the price for magical power.

Second, the Zhang Fei is a D&D wizard. In D&D a wizard gets his powers exclusively from his hardwork. Years of study and praticce allow Joe the commoner to comand the laws of the universe. In return, his skills sucks, his combat ability sucks and a cat will still tear him apart in melee.

As Joe grows, he begins to learn new ways to breack the laws of reality, and each new discovery he makes open paths to even greater powers, untill he can make time itself stop and his wishes come true.

This is the 3.X D&D wizard, this is Zhang Fei, who had to be quite smart or otherwise he wouldn't have been able to raise and command an army anyway.

EDIT:And the nemea lion was son of one of the biggest baddest greek monsters and a god. Talk about nonmagical.

Indon
2008-03-11, 12:50 PM
If the enemy's castle is in the middle of a frozen tundra, it's preparation to pack cold gear.

If the enemy's fortress is in the middle of a desert, you can't pack desert gear, because that's preparation.

I'm pretty sure surviving in extreme environments requires Fortitude saves, or something. A Barbarian is pretty likely to fare well at that.

Plus, you can use Survival to survive in the wilderness pretty decently without any prior preparation - why have rations when you can hunt something up?

Rutee
2008-03-11, 01:01 PM
First, not everyone learns magic in fantasy because it not only takes a lot of work, it also normally demands sacrifice. Wizards and sorcerors always seem half mad or have lost part of their souls or had to sacrifice something else very dear to them and that cannot be replaced, in trade of their magical powers.
DnD has no sacrifice though. Ever. Game systems can require sacrifice (See: Exalted. You must sacrifice something important to you to learn /basic/ sorcery. The sacrifices get progressively bigger as you advance to higher circles. A logical sacrifice for Solar circle sorcery is a /kingdom/).


In a game of course people don't give a crap about selling their souls and sacrificing their own family or mental sanity and stuff like that, but in fantasy stories just a few people are willing to pay the price for magical power.
Merlin didn't seem to sacrifice his family (Beyond time spent in intensive study) or sanity. Gandalf didn't. Zhang Jiao /found/ peace and sanity through the study of sorcery.

There are, of course, a few examples of Sacrifice. Moses gave up his position in the Pharaoh's kingdom. Arthur gave up any chance to live a normal life. Cu Chulainn had to bind himself to many geases to obtain his power. Some have to give up their humanity.

Sacrifice is not something we can legitimately claim to be restricted to magic.


Second, the Zhang Fei is a D&D wizard. In D&D a wizard gets his powers exclusively from his hardwork. Years of study and praticce allow Joe the commoner to comand the laws of the universe. In return, his skills sucks, his combat ability sucks and a cat will still tear him apart in melee.
So fighters don't practice now. Ever. No wonder they're supposed to suck to you. In actual fiction, of course, good fighters do practice and train, but not in Osle-land.


As Joe grows, he begins to learn new ways to breack the laws of reality, and each new discovery he makes open paths to even greater powers, untill he can make time itself stop and his wishes come true.

This is the 3.X D&D wizard, this is Zhang Fei, who had to be quite smart or otherwise he wouldn't have been able to raise and command an army anyway.
So your argument is that you can be a wizard, and gain their power, without ever being magical, and purely through martial study. I accept your surrender.


EDIT:And the nemea lion was son of one of the biggest baddest greek monsters and a god. Talk about nonmagical.

I will. Where's the magic? He's a big, powerful beast. He's only magical because DnD says he is. Like I said;

A = B + C
D = C
D != B + C.

The Nemean Lion (A) is powerful (B), and DnD says ti is magical (C)
Wizards (D) are claimed to be magical by DnD (C).

From this, you can not extrapolate that Wizards are also powerful. C does not mean B. And evidently, B does not mean C to you.

Squash Monster
2008-03-11, 01:13 PM
I like all the talk about making magic involve some form of sacrifice, but so far it seems like all the sacrifices are being made ahead of time.

What fun is that?

Imagine that all magical power comes from a supernatural force that is freely willing to lend its power. However, it's just that, a loan: every time you use magic you get a little more dept, and they expect that anyone who figures out how to use magic knows what they're doing and has a way to pay. Of course, we don't have anything that a supernatural force capable of breaking the laws of physics would actually want. So at a certain point they start sending out agents to kill the offending debtor. You can still use magic even while being hunted by these, but the more magic you use the bigger supernatural agents will be sent against you.

This makes magic much more dangerous to use, and magicians much more dangerous to be with. Some (many) towns might not want to let a known wizard in, lest some elder force come tearing its way through town to find them. Parties will be leery of extra monsters that can show up at any time, even while they are sleeping or in the midst of another battle.

Oslecamo
2008-03-11, 01:17 PM
I question these assumptions.

Like?

-Ok, first american comics.

Batman sure loves to melee. Despite having a lot of money wich would probably allow him to develop incapacatitating silent ranged weapons. But beating the bad gus wich fancy martial arts sure is much cooler than puting them all to sleep with a custom poisoned dart sniper he could surely afford and build. He has those batrangs and smoke grenades, but they're just to soften the enemy up before he jumps into them and pwns them all with his naked fists.

Iron man. Now this guy has no excuse. He has lots of big weapons and an mecanic armor to carry them, yet he always tries to go in melee against the enemy. Now I can't believe he is unable to develop some ranged weapon more effecient than punching the bad guys with iron fists.

Mr fantastic. He's a genious. And still he freacking insists in fighting his enemies in close combat, despite being smart enough to develop an array of weapons to quickly neutralize his oponents from afar instead of playing elastic man.

-Classic literature was already shown. Beowulf, heracles, Artur, Aquiles, they always get the spotlight.

Point to Paris, who dared to kill Aquiles from far away with an arrow so he wouldn't get killed in melee. He played smart and safe, but is remembered as a coward due to that.

-Tabletop games also show this. In D&D there is a lot of cool things you can do in melee, but you look at ranged combat and you see it is much much more limited unless you're a caster.

Warhammer 40k takes place in 40.000 years in the future with uber ranged weapons...And half the combat is still melee! Seriously the space marines seem to spend half the military budget in weapon of close range. In an uniserse where suposedly the enemy can kill you from the horizon whitout sweating too much.

-Then we have anime and manga, and this is where it gets really sick.

Giant humanoid robots? Nevermind the giant machine guns and rocket launchers. Fire some shots, then grab your giant sword, laser or not, and bash your enemy to oblivion with it.

You know magic but are a male character? Shoot some spells and then go melee! Because if your oponent can dodge fire and lighting and whatnot, surely your fists will be much more effective.

The seting can be done in some distant future and still people will try to kill each other with their fists when they have lasers and other excellent ranged weapons.

-Oh, star wars, right. The best hand weapon of the universe is, you guessed it, a melee weapon.

Oslecamo
2008-03-11, 01:30 PM
So fighters don't practice now. Ever. No wonder they're supposed to suck to you. In actual fiction, of course, good fighters do practice and train, but not in Osle-land.


So your argument is that you can be a wizard, and gain their power, without ever being magical, and purely through martial study. I accept your surrender.



I will. Where's the magic? He's a big, powerful beast. He's only magical because DnD says he is. Like I said;

A = B + C
D = C
D != B + C.

The Nemean Lion (A) is powerful (B), and DnD says ti is magical (C)
Wizards (D) are claimed to be magical by DnD (C).

From this, you can not extrapolate that Wizards are also powerful. C does not mean B. And evidently, B does not mean C to you.

Hmm, that computer logic is wrong.

Wizards(D) are also magical(C) and strong(B), so:

D= B+C
A=D

Thus, the Nemean lion is proved to be a wizard, either with an huge LA race, or some atempt at a invicibility wish wich went awfully wrong. Polymorph shenigans maybe?

Computer logic is so fun:smallbiggrin: .

Also, I never claimed that fighters didn't trained. I claimed they trained less than wizards, and also sacrifice less. I also never said magic couldn't be born out of nonmagic.

I acept your surrend of considering that all those fancy guys are actually casters in disguise.

Dan_Hemmens
2008-03-11, 01:38 PM
I'm still confused on why "Non-magic" is more restricted then "Magic". It's based on perceptions, no? Fiction supports everything being just as powerful. Why don't we use that?

The basic problem is that you can imagine a magical way to do anything possible by mundane means, and you can do it trivially, but it's much harder to imagine a mundane way to do things possible by magical means.

There's the very occasional story of people creating cities by punching the ground, or building gigantic bridges by throwing rocks, but they're far less common than the stories about such things being done "by magic", and they're also far *more* genre specific. There's a great many settings where "creating a city by punching the ground" doesn't fit. There's significantly fewer settings where "creating a city by magic" doesn't fit.

The other basic problem is that magicians get to do "by magic" all the things that everybody else gets to do "not by magic". RPGs are totally okay with the idea that talking people into doing things is a different skill to punching them in the face. They seem to have a blind spot over applying the same rules to magic, so spellcasters get to do everything that magic could possibly do, while skillmonkeys and fighters only get the things they have specifically learned.

Dan_Hemmens
2008-03-11, 01:49 PM
I like all the talk about making magic involve some form of sacrifice, but so far it seems like all the sacrifices are being made ahead of time.

What fun is that?

Unknown Armies works almost exactly the way you describe (okay, it's a bit kookier) to do magic you have perform some kind of sacrifice peculiar to your school of magic every single time, and there's some kind of taboo you have to keep in order to keep your power. It makes magicians absolutely bat****. The most normal ones are the ones who get their power from drinking themselves into oblivion and cutting pieces out their arms. The more extreme cases wind up having to sacrifice their entire sense of self.

Indon
2008-03-11, 01:57 PM
DnD has no sacrifice though. Ever. Game systems can require sacrifice (See: Exalted. You must sacrifice something important to you to learn /basic/ sorcery. The sacrifices get progressively bigger as you advance to higher circles. A logical sacrifice for Solar circle sorcery is a /kingdom/).
I dunno if Exalted is a good example. Charms are magic, just generally less powerful than Sorcery, and even then the most powerful charms have Sorcery-level potency (See: Many Solar charms, Sidereal Martial Arts). All characters of significant power are magic-users in _some_ fashion. Even mortals get Thaumaturgy. Creation is _made of magic_.


Merlin didn't seem to sacrifice his family (Beyond time spent in intensive study) or sanity. Gandalf didn't. Zhang Jiao /found/ peace and sanity through the study of sorcery.
Merlin and Gandalf both have divine links (Er, well, maybe less-than-divine in Merlin's case, but the same _category_ of being). No comment on the character who I only know to be fodder for multiple chinese warlords.

In at least Merlin and Gandalf's case, they're probably more like Hercules or Superman- born into their capabilities.

Rutee
2008-03-11, 02:42 PM
I dunno if Exalted is a good example. Charms are magic, just generally less powerful than Sorcery, and even then the most powerful charms have Sorcery-level potency (See: Many Solar charms, Sidereal Martial Arts). All characters of significant power are magic-users in _some_ fashion. Even mortals get Thaumaturgy. Creation is _made of magic_.
Sorcery isn't more powerful then Charms, actually. It's different, and more diverse, but generally fails in outright power, and is hella-ineffficient.



Hmm, that computer logic is wrong.

The logic is correct; You view it as wrong, but you weren't listening. B did not derive from C. Your logic process went as follows.

A is B and C.
B leads to C
D is C

Therefore, D is B and C.

B does not follow from C. We can not derive that D is B, based on having C. This is in fact a case of circular logic.

A is C because of B
D is B because of C.


I acept your surrend of considering that all those fancy guys are actually casters in disguise.
Sure, in the same sense that Merlin is melee. You don't get it. Those guys did fancy things without ever once studying magic. They are not mages in any way DnD recognizes it, and claiming otherwise is just putting your argument on grounds that you object to; That fighters can become magic purely by fighting. You are wrong. You might as well just concede the point.


The basic problem is that you can imagine a magical way to do anything possible by mundane means, and you can do it trivially, but it's much harder to imagine a mundane way to do things possible by magical means.
I'm not sure if it's genre specific, but I'll grant this. If nothing else, we are tied to our perception that the Mundane can only accomplish the Mundane.

Roderick_BR
2008-03-11, 03:56 PM
First, not everyone learns magic in fantasy because it not only takes a lot of work, it also normally demands sacrifice. Wizards and sorcerors always seem half mad or have lost part of their souls or had to sacrifice something else very dear to them and that cannot be replaced, in trade of their magical powers.

In a game of course people don't give a crap about selling their souls and sacrificing their own family or mental sanity and stuff like that, but in fantasy stories just a few people are willing to pay the price for magical power.

Second, the Zhang Fei is a D&D wizard. In D&D a wizard gets his powers exclusively from his hardwork. Years of study and praticce allow Joe the commoner to comand the laws of the universe. In return, his skills sucks, his combat ability sucks and a cat will still tear him apart in melee.

As Joe grows, he begins to learn new ways to breack the laws of reality, and each new discovery he makes open paths to even greater powers, untill he can make time itself stop and his wishes come true.

This is the 3.X D&D wizard, this is Zhang Fei, who had to be quite smart or otherwise he wouldn't have been able to raise and command an army anyway.

EDIT:And the nemea lion was son of one of the biggest baddest greek monsters and a god. Talk about nonmagical.
Except, as you pointed out, wizards in D&D doesn't need to care about "hardwork".
Years of study? Just write down your character sheet.
Low HP? Loads of protection spells, or spells to "kill/defeat your enemy as fast as possible before he even reaches you?"
Low skills? A wizard with high int will have loads of skills. What he can't do with skill he'll do with a spell, replacing even the rogue.
Cat attacK? A 1st level wizard can just defeat it with a minor spell. No sweat. Maybe, in the unlikely case of a cat suddenly deciding that the wizard is a threat to it, and decide to sneak on the wizard like a trained rogue, and smartly attacking him by surprise to tear him appart with a full attack. Not happening, unless te DM is annoyed enough with that player.

The problem is that in D&D, learning magic is TOO easy. Both a fighter and a wizard face a dragon. The fighter needs to withstand it's fire breath (that the wizard just warded himself against), needs to resist and dodge it's attacks (that the wizard can just stay out of reach, become invisible, etc), and finally hack into the beast's hide (and the wizard will pummel the dragon with spells designed to defeat his creature type).
After the battle is done, they both earn experience points.
The fighter gains +1 to attack rolls, +2 skill points (that he'll probably put on jump or ride), and 1d10 hit points.
The wizard can now stop time itself and change reality as he sees fit. Ah, also 1d4 HP, and 2 skill points

In short: In D&D, learning magic is extremely easy! The effort to learn how to shape reality is equal to learning how to hit a sword with a bit more accuracy! And it costs nothing! As long as you have slots to fill, and doesn't do anything that costs XP or costly material components, you can keep on bending the fabric of reality while you walk. Or tumble. Or while you walk and tumble. And while you brush the floor if it's a move-equivalent action. All that while the fighter approaches the man-slaying beast, hopping that it doesn't hit him with a standard action attack that will reduce him to half his HP, and then move away, rendering his full attack, the ability that was supposed to make him strong, useless.

Frosty
2008-03-11, 04:30 PM
Now the wizard is the only person who can fly, teleport, summon creatures from the ether to serve or protect him, create items out of nothingness, scry on faraway places, turn invisible, grab something from across the room, creates clouds and walls to hide in or behind, and so on. Warriors straight-up just don't have that option. And against lesser foes, he can dominate their minds, destroy their judgment, paralyze their limbs, or turn them to stone. But in a toe-to-toe fight against a powerful opponent who can grit his teeth and bull through his enchantments, with no servants or summoned creatures to guard him, he's in some serious trouble.

That feels more like a wizard from classic fantasy.

There is already a class that does that, except this class can't fly, teleport, summon creatures (except via shadow conjuration), grab stuff from across the room, or create walls. They're called Beguilers.

Oslecamo
2008-03-11, 07:54 PM
Sure, in the same sense that Merlin is melee. You don't get it. Those guys did fancy things without ever once studying magic. They are not mages in any way DnD recognizes it, and claiming otherwise is just putting your argument on grounds that you object to; That fighters can become magic purely by fighting. You are wrong. You might as well just concede the point.



How do you know that those guys didn't study magic? Most of their past is unknown after all and shrouded in legend.

Nothing stops your D&D wizard from researching magic by himself anyway. After all, somebody had to discover the first wizard magic, since it's not a natural born thing.

The fighting skills are a bonus, not the source of magic. Either they are buffs or he's some epic level guy. Heck, a lv20 wizard will mop up a lv1 fighter in melee combat.

And if you go by some people, they're not even mages or fighters, they are psionics.

Rutee
2008-03-11, 08:04 PM
How do you know that those guys didn't study magic? Most of their past is unknown after all and shrouded in legend.

So given a complete void of any evidence that the characters in question studied and practiced what DnD would call magic, and some cases, hard evidence that they could not be what DnD would call a caster (See: Zhang Fei, though you /insisted/ on contradicting source material to say he /must/ have been intelligent) you assume that they're wizards or psions based on the fact that they do things that we ordinary humans can't possibly do. If the absolutely only conclusion you can draw regardless of evidence is that there MUST be magic, as DnD knows it, involved, then there's simply no purpose to further discussion. In the immortal words of John Cleese, "Good Morning!"

GammaPaladin
2008-03-11, 08:29 PM
I think the reason Magic is more powerful is that most people simply can't do it. No matter how much they study. You need an above average int to cast at all. Most people, even relatively smart people, would only ever be able to cast 1st or 2nd level spells. Casters who can actually learn 9th level spells have intelligence scores of 19 or higher... They would be like one person out of 100,000, or even fewer.

Seriously, there should be like, 5 people in any given D&D setting who are actually capable of that level of spell casting. If that.

Sorcerers use CHA, but again, you're talking an astronomically high stat here. They're gifted beyond what any mortal man should ever be capable of.

This is why, even though magic is vastly more powerful than muscle, not everyone does it. Most people just can't. Full stop.

Rutee
2008-03-11, 08:53 PM
I think the reason Magic is more powerful is that most people simply can't do it. No matter how much they study. You need an above average int to cast at all. Most people, even relatively smart people, would only ever be able to cast 1st or 2nd level spells. Casters who can actually learn 9th level spells have intelligence scores of 19 or higher... They would be like one person out of 100,000, or even fewer.

Seriously, there should be like, 5 people in any given D&D setting who are actually capable of that level of spell casting. If that.

Sorcerers use CHA, but again, you're talking an astronomically high stat here. They're gifted beyond what any mortal man should ever be capable of.

This is why, even though magic is vastly more powerful than muscle, not everyone does it. Most people just can't. Full stop.

That seems unreasonable. Given the commoner array includes 11s, it seems improbable that most people can not cast spells due to poor attributes; Limited to cantrips and first level, sure, definitely, and they don't possess the capability to be proficient casters.. but they don't possess the capability to be proficient melee either. If a high base stat is the requisite to be awesome, then why shouldn't a Bard, or Fighter, or Rogue with equally high base stats in their primary field be awesome?

GammaPaladin
2008-03-11, 09:09 PM
I freely admit this is houseruling, but I would actually rule that someone with only an 11 intelligence can learn cantrips, but only through far more years of study than a person with a higher intelligence. I'm not going by rules here, just trying to be realistic. Casting requires a huge intellect or charisma (Or wisdom in the case of the cleric). Mastering it requires you to be one of the most brilliant people who ever lived, more or less. That tells me that the average person would take half his life just to learn level 0 or level 1 spells. Hardly a worthwhile investment.

Thematically I see magic as something very, very rare. Only a few people have both the ability and inclination to master it, or even become proficient. Learning to use a sword is something anyone can do. Exercise can make you stronger. You can develop dexterity.

Magic is something you can either do, or you can't. No middle ground. You have the talent or you don't. That's just my personal perception of how magic should work, and why I think it should be more powerful. And, again, if you look at fantasy literature, warriors are vastly more common than magicians. Heck, in Middle Earth there were only a handful of wizards (And they were basically gods who had taken on mortal form, anyway). But even looking at D&D without considering the genre it belongs to, if you read over the settings (Aside from Faerun... I can't express how illogical and stupid I find that setting, but, probably best not to get into it here...), you'll find that there are vastly, vastly more warriors than magician types.

Now, if magic was not inherently "better" than non-magic, there would be no reason for those people to exist at all. But it's easy enough to rationalize there being so few of them by assuming (With a fair amount of supporting data) that it simply requires talents that the vast, vast majority of the population simply does not have, and can never develop.

Melayl
2008-03-11, 09:34 PM
Magic exists in fantasy for the same reason technology exists in Real Life. Not because it is necessarily inherently better, but because it is different.

Technology exists because there are geeks out there (like me) who couldn't do what the more physically adept can do physically, so we figured out other ways to do things. And to sometimes do things they couldn't.

It's the same with magic in fantasy: Geek can't do what the brawny fighter could, so he figures out a different way (also explains why so many mages dislike fighters...)

RedShift zX
2008-03-11, 09:41 PM
In my point of view...Generally, in order to have any sort of 'extreme' kind of melee character. You need two things....

1. Rediculously high base stats - I.E. 16 in just about everything...Because you just need that kind of physical extreme to even be special in the first place as a fighter (more so dexterity but strength starts to become a factor when you start taking on high CR monsters)...and to be useful outside of combat you need a high int modifier to get a decent number of skill points....

Examples..

High dex & decent other scores...ala Drizzt - You have a smart guy who can do flashy moves, but can't take a hit or put much force behind a blow

High Str & average others (like Wulfgar) - Strong enough to be compared to Giants and the like...But not a on the same level as a Drow Weaponmaster when it comes to combat skill

High mental (int, wis, cha) scores & average physical ones - good...You have smarts...but no body....Go be a spellcaster instead.

Very high scores overall -....Congrats!! You have a legendary warrior in the making! Your as strong as the greatest of barbarians, can fight with the skill & grace of Drow weaponmasters, can take a blow that would surly kill most mortals, and on top of it, you actually have a bright mind! You might even want to compete in your local spelling bee! WOW! A true winner!

you get the point...

The most extreme example of this would be rolling 18's in everything, then applying the "Monster of Legend" template to your character.

2. Rediculously expensive gear - Its been a redundant theme that melee characters in MMORPG games have ALWAYS been gear dependant, and I see no reason why D&D should be any different...a +5 Keen, Wounding, Defending Bastard Sword or something should be pretty standard for non epic character levels...Throw in intelligence to it if you want...Same goes for armor & other wonderous gear. Personally? I think that Epic level armor & Weapons is the only real way to get real quality weapons..Though there are some really good special abilities in various splatbooks.

just my two cents.

Rutee
2008-03-11, 09:44 PM
Now, if magic was not inherently "better" than non-magic, there would be no reason for those people to exist at all. But it's easy enough to rationalize there being so few of them by assuming (With a fair amount of supporting data) that it simply requires talents that the vast, vast majority of the population simply does not have, and can never develop.
That's nonsense. You're imposing higher study requirements (Which don't impede on PCs, because they're assumed to have done all that in their past.) then justifying higher returns. Further, you're ignoring a key point; Ability. If I'm Ms. Frail Scholar, it behooves to learn Magic, as opposed to melee, even if they're exactly equal, because I can in fact succeed as a magus.

Notwithstanding that people have spent more then half their life spans in the study of martial arts in /the real world/, and continue to do so. According to you, they'd have dropped everything and sought to become expert snipers.



Magic is something you can either do, or you can't. No middle ground. You have the talent or you don't. That's just my personal perception of how magic should work, and why I think it should be more powerful. And, again, if you look at fantasy literature, warriors are vastly more common than magicians. Heck, in Middle Earth there were only a handful of wizards (And they were basically gods who had taken on mortal form, anyway). But even looking at D&D without considering the genre it belongs to, if you read over the settings (Aside from Faerun... I can't express how illogical and stupid I find that setting, but, probably best not to get into it here...), you'll find that there are vastly, vastly more warriors than magician types.
You seem to be laboring under the idea that I give a damn whether DnD says magic is better or rarer then melee in its settings. I don't. I also find it illogical that people claim "Because this is a rare NPC types, this must translate to power for PC wizards" The 'standard' adventuring party that the RPG books seem to use is a Fighter, a Rogue, a Wizard, and a Cleric. Magic is exactly as common as melee, among /PCs/, no? Why should NPC commonality affect the PCs at /all/, one way or the other?

Notwithstanding that your interpretation (Either you can or can't, and you can't learn ever) is directly counter to the entire fluff of the Wizard class..

Crow
2008-03-11, 09:49 PM
It depends on how you look at the Ability Scores as well.

A character's ability scores can increase over time.

This leads me to think that having an Intelligence of 11 (just picked a random number) doesn't really represent how "smart" a character is, but rather how much study that person has done in their life...in this case, only a bit more than the average person. This is supported by first level characters getting extra skill points to use. They didn't magically learn those skills because they have greater brain power, they just spent more time studying and learning these various skills. Likewise, having a strength score of 16 means that the character has devoted substantial effort to physical training. Far more than the guy with a strength of 8 who never worked out. He's not magically and inexplicable stronger...he put effort into that.

I don't think anybody here thinks that putting a point into Intelligence at 4th level means that the character is suddenly smarter. It means the character has spent time honing that ability, and though he may not be any "smarter", he is learning to make more of the intelligence he does have (maybe he took a speed-reading class */bad joke). Likewise, the guy who puts his points into strength has been spending time at the temple of iron or off bailing hay, working for that increase. He isn't just magically stronger.

Crow
2008-03-11, 09:53 PM
You seem to be laboring under the idea that I give a damn whether DnD says magic is better or rarer then melee in its settings. I don't. I also find it illogical that people claim "Because this is a rare NPC types, this must translate to power for PC wizards" The 'standard' adventuring party that the RPG books seem to use is a Fighter, a Rogue, a Wizard, and a Cleric. Magic is exactly as common as melee, among /PCs/, no? Why should NPC commonality affect the PCs at /all/, one way or the other?

Ah yes. I hearken back to memories of Shadowrun. Where only 1% of the population is "awakened", and of those, many do not even know.

Unless you're a Shadowrunner of course. Then about 60% of the population is a spell-slinging badass.

GammaPaladin
2008-03-11, 09:59 PM
Magic exists in fantasy for the same reason technology exists in Real Life. Not because it is necessarily inherently better, but because it is different.

Technology exists because there are geeks out there (like me) who couldn't do what the more physically adept can do physically, so we figured out other ways to do things. And to sometimes do things they couldn't.

It's the same with magic in fantasy: Geek can't do what the brawny fighter could, so he figures out a different way (also explains why so many mages dislike fighters...)
I disagree. A frail person can become strong through exercise. There is no one who cannot learn to fight physically, and become physically fit, unless they are outright handicapped.

It doesn't work the other way. Intelligence cannot be developed. It's simply inherent.


You seem to be laboring under the idea that I give a damn whether DnD says magic is better or rarer then melee in its settings. I don't. I also find it illogical that people claim "Because this is a rare NPC types, this must translate to power for PC wizards" The 'standard' adventuring party that the RPG books seem to use is a Fighter, a Rogue, a Wizard, and a Cleric. Magic is exactly as common as melee, among /PCs/, no? Why should NPC commonality affect the PCs at /all/, one way or the other?

Notwithstanding that your interpretation (Either you can or can't, and you can't learn ever) is directly counter to the entire fluff of the Wizard class..
Note that the "standard adventuring party" is itself meant to be rare. There aren't adventurers crawling all over creation. The PCs are meant to represent extraordinary examples of their professions, from level one on. They are extremely rare individuals, basically the most talented people of their generation.

So you can't extrapolate from the player party composition to what is or is not common in the world at large.

Rutee
2008-03-11, 10:48 PM
I disagree. A frail person can become strong through exercise. There is no one who cannot learn to fight physically, and become physically fit, unless they are outright handicapped.

It doesn't work the other way. Intelligence cannot be developed. It's simply inherent.
In DnD, developing one's intelligence is exactly as easy as developing one's strength. In fact, it is in most systems. Most systems also have players as exceptional, often superhuman characters. They're already shattering natural laws left and right, I don't see why that one should stay.



Note that the "standard adventuring party" is itself meant to be rare. There aren't adventurers crawling all over creation. The PCs are meant to represent extraordinary examples of their professions, from level one on. They are extremely rare individuals, basically the most talented people of their generation.

So you can't extrapolate from the player party composition to what is or is not common in the world at large.

Nice dodge. Well, not really. I didn't say NPC types were common or rare based on PC ones. I'm saying NPC commonality is completely unrelated to PC ability.

Well, strike that. I'm saying NPC commonality should be completely unrelated. NPC commonality, fluff that ends up relegated to the character's backstory, etc, doesn't reflect itself on PCs. I wouldn't even say a Wizard has to be older; I've seen too many awesome, young magi in fiction (No, I don't mean Harry Potter) to say that the archetype should be pigeonholed into a given age to begin with, just because Merlin and Gandalf were old-as-hell.

horseboy
2008-03-11, 10:51 PM
Unless you're a Shadowrunner of course. Then about 60% of the population is a spell-slinging badass.Well you try telling Coyote he only has 30 minutes for lunch. :smallwink:

Jayabalard
2008-03-11, 11:03 PM
People concerned about flavor always say that balance ruins flavor and/or suspension of disbelief because it violates one of the "laws" of fantasy: magic is inherently more powerful than combat skills.

The above, however, is a very recent idea in quite new fantasy works over the past two and a half decades. If we look at all the older fantasy works we will see that it is fighters, not mages that are the most powerful. Here are some examples:

Sampson killed 3000 enemies using as his only weapon the jaws of a donkey.
Hercules, after being wounded by an entire army throwing arrows and javelins at him, killed them by throwing back rocks.
In many Byzantine-era poems, great warriors mowed down thousands of enemies single-handedly (or fought with Death in meele)
In eastern fantasy there are great swordsmen, monks and the like that defeated entire armies.
In Tolkien's books, Hurin slew seventy trolls and hundreds, perhaps thousands of enemies in a single battle.
Conan. 'nuff said.


So, why do people insist that magic is supposedly more powerful in fantasy? It might be more exotic but when human fighters can take on a god hand-to-hand, fighters are proven stronger than mages.

Sampson had the backing of a god.
Hercules was a demi-god
Byzantine warriors mowing down other warriors, regardless of the numbers, doesn't really have much to do with magic vs non-magic.
The same can be said about those Eastern swordsmen and monks.
While Tolkein's magic is much more subtle than D&D's, the people who wield magical power are much stronger than those who don't.

And Conan? I don't recall an occasion where he defeated a wizard by going head to head and winning by overpowering said wizard.

Crow
2008-03-11, 11:16 PM
Conan? I don't recall an occasion where he defeated a wizard by going head to head and winning by overpowering said wizard.

Usually he had some sort of Trump to use. Often provided by another wizard or a powerful being from the outer dark.

More often though, he ran like hell.

Talya
2008-03-11, 11:22 PM
The problem is further compounded because, as people have pointed out at length above, it's easy to get trapped into calling everything which isn't possible in the real world "magic".

Because...that's a pretty good description of how it should be? If you can bend/break/stretch or in some other way ignore the natural laws of the universe, it's "magic."

konfeta
2008-03-11, 11:23 PM
I disagree. A frail person can become strong through exercise. There is no one who cannot learn to fight physically, and become physically fit, unless they are outright handicapped.

It doesn't work the other way. Intelligence cannot be developed. It's simply inherent.

Lawl? "Intelligence" is too poorly understood to make such sweeping generalizations. I suggest you reconsider your sources on human development, or actually get some that are backed by semblance of science. You can turn a human in what society considers a veritable, irredeemable retard by simply changing the way it's raised as a child. Human children who grew up without proper socialization and contact with their parents (abuse, abondonment, etc.)? They are barely capable of properly learning language, let alone scoring well on your average intelligence test. Children in orphanages? Statistically score lower on your average intelligence test.

And there are varying degrees of physical strengh. You can't turn every wimp you find into a world class athlete of some absolute top mark of performance that holds true for all people. There is more to "intelligence" then nature, and more to physical fitness than nurture.


As for the whole popularity of might over magic in mythology? Can't say with certainty, but I agree with the idea that might is idolized because it's something that humans can strive to achieve. Who do you think is more likely to captivate your tribal society child's imagination - some supernatural being that basically cheats at life? Or a mighty hunter who perseveres through virtue and feats of strength?

Might is probably more popular in mythology because it's easier to relate too for your average human. Sure it's easy to imagine right now that controlling the forces of the universe with but a thought is far more appealing and powerful than just being super athletic. But back than, such thinking was dangerous if not outright blasphemy. Nature was supernatural. Spirits, demons, ghosts, Gods everywhere. To tango with that power is undesirable, dangerous even. It is far better to work on what is given to you, to become strong through pathways open to humans.

Beowulf, for example, was a hero that was representative of what Anglo-Saxon considered to be a proper, powerful human. He triumphed over evil spirits in nature with what they thought to be truly human virtues, as defined by their society. That is one of the functions mythology serves - to create idols, ideals to which you encourage your people to aspire too. Surely it is more honorable, more proper to be strong like a proud wild beast then to be sneaky, deceptively powerful, almost magical like a snake or a plague?

Rutee
2008-03-11, 11:31 PM
Because...that's a pretty good description of how it should be? If you can bend/break/stretch or in some other way ignore the natural laws of the universe, it's "magic."
You're taking the quote out of context, somewhat. That quote was relating to how easy it was to call the superhuman magical. Why is it that the only way a human can attain the superhuman is by finger waggling? It's not like "I cast a spell to construct a city" is any more realistic then "I punch the ground to construct a city."

horseboy
2008-03-11, 11:32 PM
Usually he had some sort of Trump to use. Often provided by another wizard or a powerful being from the outer dark.

More often though, he ran like hell.Conan didn't really go up against a lot of arcane casters. He curb stomped psionisists, and divine casters, of course it depended on when in his career he did it. I don't have all my books with me, but the impression I always got was the arcane stuff was usually things "from beyond the stars" in a nod to Lovecraft. He killed that lich in his first command role. He drove off that thing that dominated all the women in The Vale of Lost Women, He dropped off the magic trap, that the elephant headed alien gave him to stop the evil mage in the tower. He slew the winged monkey from a forgotten era in revenge for Belete. In Phoenix and the Sword, he killed the demon thanks to the wizard dropping a +1 on his sword to bypass DR. You know, wizards really weren't as mean as people keep thinking in Conan. There were several helpful ones scattered in the stories.

GammaPaladin
2008-03-11, 11:38 PM
You're taking the quote out of context, somewhat. That quote was relating to how easy it was to call the superhuman magical. Why is it that the only way a human can attain the superhuman is by finger waggling? It's not like "I cast a spell to construct a city" is any more realistic then "I punch the ground to construct a city."
You're the one defining magic narrowly as "fingerwagging". I'm perfectly willing to accept Martial Adepts, who don't do any chanting or finger wagging at all. But they still have magic ;)

My problem with the "fighter" is that there's no explanation, no rationale for his power. I find it personally annoying, and I don't like to see characters who are supposedly mere mortals having superhuman powers. They need to have a reason for things like that.

Rutee
2008-03-11, 11:46 PM
You're the one defining magic narrowly as "fingerwagging". I'm perfectly willing to accept Martial Adepts, who don't do any chanting or finger wagging at all. But they still have magic ;)

My concern is only the path. I don't care about the end terminology. There is serious opposition to the idea that swinging a sword and understanding your body can let you break the laws of physics just as much as finger waggling. I have in fact been supporting physics-breaking for everyone, to be handled in the manner of their choosing.


My problem with the "fighter" is that there's no explanation, no rationale for his power. I find it personally annoying, and I don't like to see characters who are supposedly mere mortals having superhuman powers. They need to have a reason for things like that.
Maybe they're just that bad-ass. It's sufficient for the chinese.

Talya
2008-03-11, 11:50 PM
You're taking the quote out of context, somewhat. That quote was relating to how easy it was to call the superhuman magical. Why is it that the only way a human can attain the superhuman is by finger waggling? It's not like "I cast a spell to construct a city" is any more realistic then "I punch the ground to construct a city."

If you punch the ground to construct a city, I'd call it just an interesting somatic spell component.

Rutee
2008-03-11, 11:51 PM
If you punch the ground to construct a city, I'd call it just an interesting somatic spell component.

Except the Yellow Emperor, who did it first, wasn't a sorceror or wizard. He didn't cast a spell. He was just that bad-ass. Again, this is pretty much the entire problem; In a complete void of evidence that these characters are spellcasters as DnD recognizes them, you assign them this label because it's the only way, in your mind, to accomplish this result. That's the entire problem; Dungeons and Dragons ONLY allows you to achieve fantastic results through magic. Therefore, any awesome fantastic effect pulled off by someone who isn't a caster /still/ must be modeled after magic. This is then used as proof, backed up by fiction, that mages are better. Do you /not/ find the problem with this model?

And you're still not answering my question. Is the only way to produce truly superhuman results in Dungeons and Dragons supposed to be by finger waggling? Why can't it be done through martial prowess or reality-bending diplomatic skill?

horseboy
2008-03-11, 11:53 PM
Why would a high level fighter being able to kill a high level monster be supernatural? Really that's what D&D needs, for fighters to be as competent at killing things as they were back at 3rd level.

Chosen_of_Vecna
2008-03-11, 11:55 PM
Lawl? "Intelligence" is too poorly understood to make such sweeping generalizations. I suggest you reconsider your sources on human development, or actually get some that are backed by semblance of science. You can turn a human in what society considers a veritable, irredeemable retard by simply changing the way it's raised as a child. Human children who grew up without proper socialization and contact with their parents (abuse, abondonment, etc.)? They are barely capable of properly learning language, let alone scoring well on your average intelligence test. Children in orphanages? Statistically score lower on your average intelligence test.

And there are varying degrees of physical strengh. You can't turn every wimp you find into a world class athlete of some absolute top mark of performance that holds true for all people. There is more to "intelligence" then nature, and more to physical fitness than nurture.

1) I've never heard of Children raised wrong turning out to be retards. In fact, I've heard of/seen many who were raised poorly/not raised at all/lived on the streets that are all perfect examples of average human intelligence.

2) Orphans have lower scores? Maybe it's because they don't care about the tests as much? Maybe it's because their parents were too stupid to stay alive and it's all genetics? What you have is a correlation, you might want to reevaluate before you start implying causation.

Rutee
2008-03-11, 11:55 PM
Because until and unless you can warp reality at will through the method of your choice, you can't be equal to wizards, who can produce any effect under the sun, and a few from the dark side of the moon.


1) I've never heard of Children raised wrong turning out to be retards. In fact, I've heard of/seen many who were raised poorly/not raised at all/lived on the streets that are all perfect examples of average human intelligence.

You're not familiar with potential reliance that IQ tests can have on culture, have you? Being raised outside that culture will /murder/ your score on the test.

Chosen_of_Vecna
2008-03-12, 12:03 AM
Except the Yellow Emperor, who did it first, wasn't a sorceror or wizard. He didn't cast a spell. He was just that bad-ass.

And you're still not answering my question. Is the only way to produce truly superhuman results in Dungeons and Dragons supposed to be by finger waggling? Why can't it be done through martial prowess or reality-bending diplomatic skill?

The only way to superhuman results is not through fingerwaggling. You are the one that keeps ignoring all the other examples of it:

1) Monks can talk to animals and teleport through force of will.
2) Every single Martial Adept class is an example. I light my sword on fire/teleport/speed up time/hit things really really hard because I have honed my skill!
3) Reality bending through diplomatic skill? Ever heard of the Diplomancer? Despite the name there is no spell there, just mindcontrolling everyone you meet through sheer persuasiveness.
4) I create Extra-dimensional spaces everytime someone fireballs because I have Evasion.

The thing that you keep complaining about is that Martial characters can't be superhuman, but they can. Only the Fighter can't because as per D&D Fighter is the name for any character that can only fight humanly. If you want superhuman, you want a Warblade.

And as for why can't anyone do it and reflavor it as what you want. Anyone can do it. They just have to take levels in a class that can do it (Wizard/Psion) and then reflavor it as punching the ground.

Talya
2008-03-12, 12:06 AM
Except the Yellow Emperor, who did it first, wasn't a sorceror or wizard. He didn't cast a spell. He was just that bad-ass.


If you make a big crack in the ground by punching the ground, you may just be some super powerful strong force (but aren't a 'fighter.') If you can make a city by punching the ground, it's magic. It might not be magic of the same type as a wizard waggling fingers and chanting, but it's still magic. Other examples of "magic":

"Chi"-powers
Psionics
The ability to divert a river by actually lifting the flowing water (as opposed to digging a new riverbed.)
Supernatural-level use of qīnggōng (to the point where laws of physics are no longer really in the way.)
Growing new heads when one is cut off.


I could keep going.

Rutee
2008-03-12, 12:07 AM
The only way to superhuman results is not through fingerwaggling. You are the one that keeps ignoring all the other examples of it:

1) Monks can talk to animals and teleport through force of will.
2) Every single Martial Adept class is an example. I light my sword on fire/teleport/speed up time/hit things really really hard because I have honed my skill!
3) Reality bending through diplomatic skill? Ever heard of the Diplomancer? Despite the name there is no spell there, just mindcontrolling everyone you meet through sheer persuasiveness.
4) I create Extra-dimensional spaces everytime someone fireballs because I have Evasion.

The thing that you keep complaining about is that Martial characters can't be superhuman, but they can. Only the Fighter can't because as per D&D Fighter is the name for any character that can only fight humanly. If you want superhuman, you want a Warblade.

And as for why can't anyone do it and reflavor it as what you want. Anyone can do it. They just have to take levels in a class that can do it (Wizard/Psion) and then reflavor it as punching the ground.

Nobody can warp reality but magi. They're not restricted to it in myth. What's the deal, yo?

horseboy
2008-03-12, 12:08 AM
Because until and unless you can warp reality at will through the method of your choice, you can't be equal to wizards, who can produce any effect under the sun, and a few from the dark side of the moon.But do they need to "equal" wizards in power or do they just need to be able to do their jobs? If a fighter can kill a dragon in one hit (Like Bard), does he need to be able to crack open the mountain to get at it? It's an interesting style of play, but for a generic system is it necessary for the fighter's power level to be over 9,000?

Chosen_of_Vecna
2008-03-12, 12:10 AM
You're not familiar with potential reliance that IQ tests can have on culture, have you? Being raised outside that culture will /murder/ your score on the test.

I'm well aware, I said average human intelligence not "scores really well on culturally biased IQ tests."

How someone is raised does have an effect on many things, it doesn't make them suddenly incapable of understanding things they might otherwise understand. So you have to start lower down on the knowledge tree, they still figure things out as fast as they would have otherwise.

Chosen_of_Vecna
2008-03-12, 12:12 AM
Nobody can warp reality but magi. They're not restricted to it in myth. What's the deal, yo?

I just gave you a list of non-magi warping reality, that's what teleportation/mindcontrol/and summoning fire from nothing are.

Jayabalard
2008-03-12, 12:17 AM
Conan didn't really go up against a lot of arcane casters. He curb stomped psionisists, and divine casters, of course it depended on when in his career he did it. I don't have all my books with me, but the impression I always got was the arcane stuff was usually things "from beyond the stars" in a nod to Lovecraft. He killed that lich in his first command role. He drove off that thing that dominated all the women in The Vale of Lost Women, He dropped off the magic trap, that the elephant headed alien gave him to stop the evil mage in the tower. He slew the winged monkey from a forgotten era in revenge for Belete. In Phoenix and the Sword, he killed the demon thanks to the wizard dropping a +1 on his sword to bypass DR. You know, wizards really weren't as mean as people keep thinking in Conan. There were several helpful ones scattered in the stories.The sword of the phoenix was statted out as a better than +1 weapon in the AD&D Conan modules iirc, with special bane properties when used against demons. I'd quote but I haven't seen my copy in a few years :smallfrown:

Crow
2008-03-12, 12:18 AM
What's the deal, yo?

The deal is that I forgot what I was going to post, because for some reason my eyes always dart over to the huge bust on your avatar...Sweet Jesus.

Anyhow, I'll be sure to add something constructive to this thread if I post again, and if I remember what I had intended to say in this post, I'll edit it in.

Sorry.

Rutee
2008-03-12, 12:21 AM
If you make a big crack in the ground by punching the ground, you may just be some super powerful strong force (but aren't a 'fighter.') If you can make a city by punching the ground, it's magic. It might not be magic of the same type as a wizard waggling fingers and chanting, but it's still magic. Other examples of "magic":

"Chi"-powers
Psionics
The ability to divert a river by actually lifting the flowing water (as opposed to digging a new riverbed.)
Supernatural-level use of qīnggōng (to the point where laws of physics are no longer really in the way.)
Growing new heads when one is cut off.


I could keep going.

Perfectly fine by me. Call it what you want. Here's my beef, as it's apparently not translating until I summarize my arguments.

The primary way DnD will allow you to model this, and oftentimes, only way, is through a character on the spells-per-day model, who is an awful fighter (For their level), with low hit points (For their level). Further, as several posts have shown (Such as your own, claiming "Punching the ground was an interesting somatic component"), the fact that the only way to model these effects is magic is then used as proof as to why the melee should be inferior to the casters. This is what I am claiming exception to.



But do they need to "equal" wizards in power or do they just need to be able to do their jobs? If a fighter can kill a dragon in one hit (Like Bard), does he need to be able to crack open the mountain to get at it? It's an interesting style of play, but for a generic system is it necessary for the fighter's power level to be over 9,000?
It is only necessary for the Fighter's power to be over 9,000 if the Wizard's is /also/ over 9,000. Dungeons and Dragons Wizards are over 9,000. Therefore, it is equally vital for the fighter to be at Memetic Power Levels.


I just gave you a list of non-magi warping reality, that's what teleportation/mindcontrol/and summoning fire from nothing are.
You did give me a list, this is true. The simple fact is, the effects are more limitted then a Wizard. A Wizard can do anything, by finger waggling. Okay. Why can't I do anything, by being preternaturally persuasive? Why can't I do anything by swinging a sword?

Also, is Diplomancer a class? I thought it was just abuse of the ridiculously badly written diplomacy rules.

GammaPaladin
2008-03-12, 12:29 AM
The primary way DnD will allow you to model this, and oftentimes, only way, is through a character on the spells-per-day model, who is an awful fighter (For their level), with low hit points (For their level). Further, as several posts have shown (Such as your own, claiming "Punching the ground was an interesting somatic component"), the fact that the only way to model these effects is magic is then used as proof as to why the melee should be inferior to the casters. This is what I am claiming exception to.
Nyet. The Martial Adepts have no per day limit to their powers.

Rutee
2008-03-12, 12:38 AM
"Primary, and often only." Not "Only". Surely you have an objection beyond one line, no?

GammaPaladin
2008-03-12, 01:07 AM
Well, my whole purpose in this thread is to point out that I think the ToB classes did a much better job of creating the feel of those mythic heroes we keep talking about than the core Fighter class did. So I have to keep bringing it up :D

It's too bad 4e is coming out, and we're not likely to see any more supplements for the Martial Adepts, because IMHO, they're what melee in 3.5 should have been from the beginning.

Jayabalard
2008-03-12, 01:13 AM
personally I'd rather play a straight class fighter than anything in the TOB. I'm glad that they released those classes so that people that want that style of game can use them, but it's not the style game that I want to be playing.

I like playing the guy who hits things with a sword without any pseudo magic effects masquerading as non magical abilities.

Rutee
2008-03-12, 01:15 AM
Steal the mechanics, keep the fluff out then. Why bother opposing something on grounds of bad fluff? Iron Heart and White Raven lend themselves well to no overt, flashy effects, IIRC.

Jayabalard
2008-03-12, 01:51 AM
Steal the mechanics, keep the fluff out then. Why bother opposing something on grounds of bad fluff? Iron Heart and White Raven lend themselves well to no overt, flashy effects, IIRC.Because game mechanics in general don't appeal to me, so if I cut the fluff out of a class, there really isn't anything left about that class that appeals to me.

Rutee
2008-03-12, 01:56 AM
Because game mechanics in general don't appeal to me, so if I cut the fluff out of a class, there really isn't anything left about that class that appeals to me.

Well, whatever then. The entire point I was making was to have mechanical usefulness while keeping the fluff you prefer, but if you don't care about the mechanical effectiveness..

GammaPaladin
2008-03-12, 02:25 AM
Whereas I think the Fighter is mechanically uninteresting and dull to play. Different strokes I guess.

Then again, I did create a dice pool based homebrew with 15 attributes and countless skills and abilities. So, I suppose I like more complication than most.

DarknessLord
2008-03-12, 02:26 AM
Okay, I’ve been reading this, and I see there are to basic problems here.

One, is the problem that physical/normal human types are limited to a specialization in their area maybe it’s two areas, if they’re lucky, because that’s what they trained in. Arcane (Divine casters will be included under that as well, when appropriate, to save time) casters can use almost any form of magic they feel like, and, because magic can do anything, their one area can cover everything. I don’t like that, a BBEG maybe, or a guy who discovered immortality and has been around for a few millennium, also maybe, or heck, if it had a cost based off of the amount of magic power you used, maybe, but in general, even for high level PCs, magic shouldn’t be the “do anything” thing to go to, I don’t necessarily disagree that magic itself should be able to do anything, but a single arcane caster shouldn’t be able to use magic for whatever purpose strikes his fancy. The Pyromancer works in a much different way then the necromancer or the golem creator.

The other is this flaunty logic that
If: Anything supernatural = Magical
Magical= Arcane
And character does something not possible in our world
Then
That something is magical, and therefore a spell
And that the person doing it must be an arcane caster of some kind because he cast a spell.

However, the very first two premises of that are flawed, the example of the punching the earth to create a city, was not intended as a magical ability it was intended to show that this man was reaching human physical perfection, and could use his body alone to shape solid rock. The intent was physical power as its best, which is quite the opposite of what Arcane magic is about, using your mind or force of personality to bend reality, not strength. I suppose if you must you can call anything supernatural to be magic, but it doesn’t change the fact that this is the find of stuff a high epic level fighter, not a wizard would be capable of. Heck, we accept that a high level fighter can survive in Lava for 10+ seconds through shear physical training but not that he can create a city by hitting the ground? :smallconfused:

Dan_Hemmens
2008-03-12, 06:04 AM
Because...that's a pretty good description of how it should be? If you can bend/break/stretch or in some other way ignore the natural laws of the universe, it's "magic."

The problem is that magic is treated as a single phenomenon. Teleporting and Summoning are both impossible, therefore they are both magic - thus far that's fine. The problem is that the logic then goes "therefore all mages should be able to do both".

Oslecamo
2008-03-12, 08:23 AM
So given a complete void of any evidence that the characters in question studied and practiced what DnD would call magic, and some cases, hard evidence that they could not be what DnD would call a caster (See: Zhang Fei, though you /insisted/ on contradicting source material to say he /must/ have been intelligent) you assume that they're wizards or psions based on the fact that they do things that we ordinary humans can't possibly do. If the absolutely only conclusion you can draw regardless of evidence is that there MUST be magic, as DnD knows it, involved, then there's simply no purpose to further discussion. In the immortal words of John Cleese, "Good Morning!"

Ok, first, it makes no sense all his mental states are weak. He freacking become a general and controled armies. No way a person with mediocre wisdom, int and cha could do it, because nobody would follow an total idiot into the battlefield, and he wouldn't have become a general in the first place.

Or are you saying his musles also granted him amazing comanding powers? Is he Major's Armstrong god, the man who flexes his muscles and thus all his troops feel inspired to fight? He flexes his muscles and sudenly he knows the weak point of the enemy formation? He flexes his muscles and his troops far away hear is commands? Hell, that surely looks convenient.

Second, the closest thing to someone who can punch the ground and make a city appear are, you guessed it, fullcasters. If you know a purely melee class that could do this, by all means present it.

Actually, is there any game where you can create a city in 6 seconds just because you are a martial arts master?

Most of fantasy heros are guys who rolled nothing below 16 in their stats. Face it. They're at the same time intelegent enough to create cunning plans, wise enough to don't get themselves killed in faces of great dangers and charismatic enough to get a bunch of people to follow them around.

And by the way, surviving in the lava 1 minute is much easier than creating a city in 6 seconds.

Talya
2008-03-12, 08:28 AM
Clerics/druids are not awful fighters. Heck, even a wizard can be a decent fighter at higher levels. (Shapechange: Titan, Tenser's Transformation)

The Rose Dragon
2008-03-12, 08:36 AM
Actually, is there any game where you can create a city in 6 seconds just because you are a martial arts master?

Mutants & Masterminds, if your GM allows it. You do need a lot of power points to work with, though.

Thoughtbot360
2008-03-12, 08:59 AM
Nyet. The Martial Adepts have no per day limit to their powers.

To Gamma Paladin:

Entering power gaming mode...

Actually, thanks to Wands and the Scribe Scroll feat, neither do Wizards! (With a Magic Missile Wand at the lower levels, you make the Sorcerer feel really bad-because you actually have more magic missile than he does.) Spells per day don't slow anyone if they understand magic items. A 1st-level wand of cure light wounds that you use only to stabilize dying allies or to patch people up after the fight. Its much cheaper than cure mod potions.

If you have wands of the Spells you *know* you are going to use, and scrolls of the Spells you *might* have to use, Spells per day is not really a limitation at all. But most Newbies don't know about that. I blame it on magic items being in the DMG (the book that only, you know, DMs are supposed to see and that cheap or honest-minded players generally won't look in.)

To the thread in general:

Entering Rant mode.....

The problem I as see it is twofold: 1) Magic defines fantasy, but 2) Warriors are the most popular (and easiest to identify with) hero archetype for non-contemporary (and sometimes even contemporary) Fantasy-cuz' they rock. Even Thieves/Rogues are a type of urban, sneaky warrior who happens live a life of crime.

Shadow of the Colossus would not be nearly as exciting if Wander simply spammed Save-or-Die spells from a safe distance on the Colossi until they died, it would certainly be much more anticlimactic. Actually, very few Magic fighting is visually appearing and interesting that isn't a transformation fight. (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ShapeShifterShowdown) There was plenty of magic in the plot (it had giant monsters, a sealed God, and resurrection. And they were all important to the story, as I said: Magic defines fantasy) just not really for direct use by the player.

The game is all like (contemptuous voice) "You wanna kill the Colossus, you gotta climb for it, bitch."

Actually, the one class I think the designers should work in any fantasy setting is the Fighter-the Fighter or whoever the basic "Warrior" class is. Most fantasy settings are set in some ancient era, and since fighting is the most recognized form of conflict (and since conflict is important to all stories...), and since fighting back in those days was done with Swords and Bows and Horses (and not Fireballs or Save-or-Dies)....then they should balance and work out how Swords and Bows and Horses work, then they should at least make sure none of the other character/attack types (Magic being the most danagerous) and don't any new class (at least not in the

If Stealth and Social skills work, the Rogue works
If the Wilderness is suitibly dangerous place, the Ranger works (if he can stand up to nature...)
If Healing/Turning works (even if the cleric gets no other powers), the Cleric works
If Magic works *just* well enough to interest someone to play a Wizard, then the Wizard works.
However, if Swordfighting works, then the Paladin, Barbarian, AND the Fighter work. And countless other "Warrior" type classes.

If you get something like a CW Samurai in a sourcebook that sucks, but Fighting generally works, then the Samurai is just poorly made class, and its not the system's fault.

Also, its rather important that the world has an actual need for a professionally trained weapon user. You could say Mages are rare or whatnot, and that might help lend itself to world balance, but won't stop the party from being made up of all Mages.

1) "Gandalf and Merlin" They are Demigods. Gandalf isn't even human and Merlin in several versions of the Arthurian tales has a succubus for a mother. Even so, Merlin simply "facilitates destiny" (advances the plot by fortelling or sometimes even "remembering" the future) while Gandalf uses a sword for most of the fights (he used magic, what 4 times?).

2) "Court Wizards/Magicians" Well, this is mostly styled after Merlin, but there are times in real life history when "magicians" were in the employ of various kings and nobles. However, these people were fortune tellers, alchemists, charm makers, and exorcists...in other worlds, they were all bogus.

But in a fantasy world, maybe they aren't bogus. Maybe they are actually vitally important. Buuut, most of the poeple here I mentioned here are (or could easily be) what are known as "ritualists." As in "casting via a long, drawn-out ritual." If they can not use magic in a surprised state, if every form of magic has to be premeditated, but the power brought by the ritual must be used then and there and can never held in reserve and suddenly released for an "emergency." It gets even better for balance if their magic can be stopped by breaking their concentration (an armed psychopath breaking down the door and charging at you is a good example of that) than the mages of the world, however powerful they may be (and the professions I've listed here are quite limited), will need body guards while they work-even if they know how to fight with weapons themselves (which they just might, since sorcery and swordsmanship are only good in mutually exclusive situations)-to make sure that they aren't disturbed while they work.

Well, the thing you have to keep in mind is that if you have any penalties/risks/openings associated with the very act of casting a spell, you can afford your mage class to actually be relatively good at some other thing-like armed combat. The idea of a Mage wielding a sword with any amount breaks some present day fantasy norms-but who cares about the norms?

Basically, you scrap the instantaneous, do-anything spell casting for something with something a little easier to defend against, but still quite powerful when the mage gets its off.

Its about keeping a bit of a Zero-sum rule, rather than having everyone have the same damage output. With a weakness thats related to using the thing itself, and not easily loophole-able.

AmberVael
2008-03-12, 09:50 AM
The problem is that magic is treated as a single phenomenon. Teleporting and Summoning are both impossible, therefore they are both magic - thus far that's fine. The problem is that the logic then goes "therefore all mages should be able to do both".

That... actually sounds about right.
I wonder how it would work out if you limited wizards and sorcerers to a single school...
And then nerfed conjuration. I mean really- stupid school taking over everything.

Rutee
2008-03-12, 11:05 AM
Clerics/druids are not awful fighters. Heck, even a wizard can be a decent fighter at higher levels. (Shapechange: Titan, Tenser's Transformation)
Another dodge. I don't think you quite get it, dear. Spell Abuse affects the final product. The simple fact is, they're not skilled fighters in their own right. To put it in the terms I've been using, they don't get to martial prowess through martial study. They get to martial prowess through finger-waggling study. If that's so, why don't the fighters get to reach finger-waggling prowess through martial study?

I, for one, can perfectly accept any particular field of study yielding any particular result. Sure, fine, get good at talking by studying magic. But expect me to get good at magic by studying talking, and talking the Universe into doing what I want it to do (This actually could be modeled in DnD. It's just that the only way to do so.. is to use a class that studies magic, and changing the fluff)

Dan would prefer they all have different (ANd mostly/completely exclusive, seemingly) effects; Another valid way to go. Study magic, by all means, but don't expect Magic to be able to do everything. Maybe you can do whatever you want with Water, but you can't conjure non-Water monsters, or make Wishes, or buff allies, or any of thousands of other effects that don't involve water that a mage can do.


Stuff in response to me
You don't get it. There's no debating you. The reasons have made themselves self-evident. The argument is complete. Good Morning.

Oh, FYI: The game systems you can do that in? Exalted (Sufficiently good MA + Int Stunt roll), Weapons of the Gods (Artful melee attack, with full use of Kung Fu. Probably need an Impossible result to land it), offhand.

Tren
2008-03-12, 11:48 AM
That... actually sounds about right.
I wonder how it would work out if you limited wizards and sorcerers to a single school...
And then nerfed conjuration. I mean really- stupid school taking over everything.

Hopefully 4E will balance magic by recalibrating how spells scale, but it always seemed to me for 3E magic the best way would be to force all wizards to specialize. Set up a scale so as they get progressively higher spell levels they're limited to more and more narrowly focused spell selection until ultimately you get to level 8 or 9 spells-- the mega ultimate reality bending finger waggling-- and you can only learn spells from your specialty school. Obviously with the number and placement of spells from different schools at each level 3E doesn't really lend itself to this, but in terms of flavor and balance I think it makes a whole lotta sense. It just dumbfounds me from a flavor (and power) standpoint that a wizard can get to level 9 spells that anyone of which could represent the culmination of an entire lifetime of research, study, and dedication, and can then swap 'em at after a nights sleep.

Indon
2008-03-12, 12:25 PM
I, for one, can perfectly accept any particular field of study yielding any particular result.

You seem to be an exception - I was thinking about it and I think I know why. It's not neccessarily that being strong is 'realistic' and magic isn't, I'd posted an example of the Flash, who uses the entirely 'realistic' power of super-speed but is capable of believable magic-like effects.

Another example of magic-like effects can be found in science fiction - what can't tachyons do?

I think the difference is in having a good gimmick or not. For the Flash, as I noted, he has "Molecular vibration". Star Trek have tachyons and the ever-popular deflector dish. D&D Wizards (and other int-based casters) have the inherent assumption that the universe functions like a computer program. D&D Sorcerors (and most other cha-based casters) have the inherent assumption that the universe responds to sufficiently strong raw desire.

So it's not about allowing strength-users to use non sequitur Norrisisms, per say... it's about thinking up a good in-universe justification for them to effectively do it. In Exalted, it's easy enough - the entire universe is made of Essence, so given Essence, you can do anything with any stat - Essence is the ultimate gimmick in Creation.

So the question is: How do we describe the universe in such a way as to allow raw physical strength to manipulate it in nonstandard ways? Do we say, perhaps, that the universe is impressed by those who are strong and mold to their wishes? Or maybe feats of strength build up some form of magical credit which is expended in various ways? In any case, it's a matter of building a magic-babble system which justifies suspension of disbelief.

Rutee
2008-03-12, 12:30 PM
Seems reasonable; Allay the little imp of realism in the minds of others (I think my various Shoulder Angels killed mine, because they were tired of hearing it yammer on) by creating a patently supernatural (Or magical, if you prefer; The term used is meaningless to me) to justify Norrisisms. You seem to have some reasonable starts right there, obviously.

Squash Monster
2008-03-12, 01:34 PM
Explanation for how swordsmen and wizards can do things that'd break our laws of physics? I'll make one, but it'll be long-winded.

In our universe, we assume that everything that happens is ultimately described by a single law of physics. We don't actually know that law, so we have a handful of less accurate laws that we use for various aspects of the universe. These are not as good as the real single law, so they completely break down sometimes: especially on border cases where the laws have to work together. Now, in our universe, the actual rule governing these situations is a single, more coherent law, so the universe itself doesn't start to break down, just our equations.

Now, in the past, we've had larger sets of laws with more of this in-between area that's so prone to breaking. If we went back to, say, Plato, and tried to use the laws he used, they'd completely fall apart.

So, say that in our fantasy world, the laws of physics are not, in fact, a single internally consistent law, but rather a large set of laws with gaps and contradictions. If you poke at those gaps, weird stuff starts to happen.

The wizard memorizes very specific flaws with the laws of the universe and ways to make them manifest themselves. The sorcerer pushes on the general area of one of these flaws with sheer force of will until something breaks. And the great swordsman moves his sword so fast and hits things so hard that the rules don't have an answer for what happens.

Dan_Hemmens
2008-03-12, 01:35 PM
Seems reasonable; Allay the little imp of realism in the minds of others (I think my various Shoulder Angels killed mine, because they were tired of hearing it yammer on) by creating a patently supernatural (Or magical, if you prefer; The term used is meaningless to me) to justify Norrisisms. You seem to have some reasonable starts right there, obviously.

For my money, rather than allowing Norrisisms to all the fighters, the simplest thing to do would be to actually have a rational, thought-through magic system with proper limits.

Basically I like systems where being a "necromancer" and being a "conjurer of demons" are different things.

While we're wishing for the moon on a stick, it'd be nice of Clerics got powers that fit their gods too...

Frosty
2008-03-12, 01:36 PM
So you're saying that that once the people in the fantasy world figure out the theory of special and general relativity, swordsmen doing impossible things will make sense? :smallbiggrin:

Chosen_of_Vecna
2008-03-12, 01:40 PM
You did give me a list, this is true. The simple fact is, the effects are more limitted then a Wizard. A Wizard can do anything, by finger waggling. Okay. Why can't I do anything, by being preternaturally persuasive? Why can't I do anything by swinging a sword?

Also, is Diplomancer a class? I thought it was just abuse of the ridiculously badly written diplomacy rules.

Of course the effects are limited. Wizard have more disadvantages then those characters.

If a Warblade could do everything a Wizard could do infinite times a day no one would play a Wizard.

You argue that people should be able to do magic based on something other then spells per-day. But you aren't happy until they can do the same thing as the spells per day even though they don't have that limit, even though they have d12 HD and full BAB.

Rutee
2008-03-12, 01:41 PM
For my money, rather than allowing Norrisisms to all the fighters, the simplest thing to do would be to actually have a rational, thought-through magic system with proper limits.

Basically I like systems where being a "necromancer" and being a "conjurer of demons" are different things.

While we're wishing for the moon on a stick, it'd be nice of Clerics got powers that fit their gods too...
Oh yeah, no. What we want is mutually exclusive; You want to add limits, I seek to remove them. I wasn't trying to solve your problem (I genuinely think it's easier to fix on a conceptual and mechanical level though, if that's any consolation), just mine, sorry. But the reasons and motivations seem similar, and to be perfectly fair, your way is probably more representative of traditional heroic fantasy.


Stuff
Point the first: Wizards' advantages vastly outweigh those disadvantages. If a Fighter is 0+0, and a Warblade is 0 + 2, a Wizard would be like, -2 + 7. A warblade may not have weaknesses, but his strengths still aren't large enough to overcome a Wizard's Strengths + Weaknesses.

Point the Second: I do not require the melee to be able to accomplish the impossible an infinite number of times a day. Why should reality warping by sword fighting be less draining then reality warping by finger waggling?

Third, you're restricting yourself to DnD when you say this. In the systems I used earlier, a martialist is /not/ inherently more hardy then a scholar. They start from the same base, and have to pay just as much to become hardy as the other. And having less capability to smack stuff around physically is equally not as much of a disadvantage, because you don't /need/ to smack stuff around physically.

Talya
2008-03-12, 01:43 PM
If that's so, why don't the fighters get to reach finger-waggling prowess through martial study?


Because they are FIGHTERS. That's fairly self explanatory! Nobody should be able to do through mundane means the vast possibilities available through the supernatural.

If you want to be an expert swordsman, accept your limitations.

If you don't want to accept your limitations, be a spellcaster or magic user of some sort.

Rutee
2008-03-12, 01:49 PM
Because they are FIGHTERS. That's fairly self explanatory! Nobody should be able to do through mundane means the vast possibilities available through the supernatural.

If you want to be an expert swordsman, accept your limitations.

If you don't want to accept your limitations, be a spellcaster or magic user of some sort.

Why can't swinging a sword be supernatural? It's certainly possible; Myth and other systems have shown this to be possible, from a fictional standpoint. Even DnD does so, with the Tome of Battle. Why is martial prowess being equated to the mundane?

Tren
2008-03-12, 01:54 PM
When mastery of the fundamental rules of the universe only requires sufficient (though perhaps immense) exertion of will and focus, why should it matter whether it's physical or mental in nature? For that matter, why can a monk achieve perfection of the soul and body to perform supernatural feats, but the idea of a martial adept is blasphemy?

Talya
2008-03-12, 01:55 PM
Why can't swinging a sword be supernatural?

It could be, but that's no longer a "fighter." When people play a fighter, they generally aren't trying to play a godlike superbeing...they want to play a martially skilled person who knows that the pointy end sticks int he bad guy. If you want to turn the party into a cheese-fest by making everyone in it superhuman, then don't use the fighter, rogue, or barbarian classes.

We don't want to see Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas creating cities by smashing their fists into the ground. We don't mind seeing Gandalf occasionally display his wizardly power, but we expect at least a little bit of verisimilitude here.

Dan_Hemmens
2008-03-12, 01:56 PM
Because they are FIGHTERS. That's fairly self explanatory! Nobody should be able to do through mundane means the vast possibilities available through the supernatural.

If you want to be an expert swordsman, accept your limitations.

If you don't want to accept your limitations, be a spellcaster or magic user of some sort.

That's exactly the assumption Rutee and I (from different perspectives) are arguing against.

Why are warriors limited to the things that a normal person in the real world could do with a sharp piece of metal, while wizards can do literally anything.

There's absolutely no reason that a Necromancer should be able to throw fireballs, or that an Evoker should be able to control minds, or an Enchanter should be able to cast Finger of Death. There's no reason that a guy who gets his power from summoning and forging pacts with devils should be able to cast time stop/forcecage/cloudkill.

What makes magic interesting to me is its limitations. I'd much rather play a man who sacrificed his own tongue for the power to see the future than a man who sacrificed nothing at all for the power to see the future, teleport, and of course be really good at fighting things.

It's the last point, of course, that causes the biggest problem. A fighter dedicates his life to fighting, a wizard dedicates his life to magic, and the wizard winds up being able to fight better than the fighter. So why does anybody study anything but magic?

It's a double standard. Fighters wind up playing a low-key game where they're basically limited to being a very skilled ordinary person, while Wizards are playing an epic game where they wind up controlling the very fabric of the cosmos. The thing is that you can bring Wizards down to earth, just like you can make Fighters epic, but people assume that somehow magic is "supposed" to just be better at everything, which is what this thread is all about.

Morty
2008-03-12, 01:57 PM
They want to play a martially skilled person who knows that the pointy end sticks int he bad guy.

They also don't want to get splattered across the wall by first high-level wizard they meet. Though admiteddly it's a matter of wizards being broken rather than fighters being too mundane. But all in all, even good ol' 3ed core fighters are doing things unapproachable by real people.

Talya
2008-03-12, 01:58 PM
That's exactly the assumption Rutee and I (from different perspectives) are arguing against.


Then don't use the fighter class.

Personally, I like my rpgs to feel like a traditional fantasy novel.

Frosty
2008-03-12, 02:02 PM
Then don't use the fighter class.

Personally, I like my rpgs to feel like a traditional fantasy novel.

Does that mean you let your Fighters have 3 levels over the Wizards in the party to balance out the power? In 2e, Wizards needed more EXP to level iirc. that was one factor of balance.

Dan_Hemmens
2008-03-12, 02:02 PM
It could be, but that's no longer a "fighter." When people play a fighter, they generally aren't trying to play a godlike superbeing...they want to play a martially skilled person who knows that the pointy end sticks int he bad guy. If you want to turn the party into a cheese-fest by making everyone in it superhuman, then don't use the fighter, rogue, or barbarian classes.

Speaking for myself, when I play a spellcaster, I don't want to play a godlike superbeing (that's what Nobilis is for). I want to play a driven, focused individual who has dedicated his life to the arcane.

The problem with the arcane is that in D&D the "arcane" is actually extremely pragmatic. There's nothing arcane or esoteric about fireballs.


We don't want to see Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas creating cities by smashing their fists into the ground. We don't mind seeing Gandalf occasionally display his wizardly power, but we expect at least a little bit of verisimilitude here.

The only "Wizardly Power" Gandalf ever displayed was fighting the Balrog. Which he did with a sword.

The wizards of fiction and fantasy are scary because they deal with things which other people genuinely don't understand. D&D wizards are scary because they can trivially solve most problems with the right spell combo.

Rutee
2008-03-12, 02:08 PM
It could be, but that's no longer a "fighter." When people play a fighter, they generally aren't trying to play a godlike superbeing...they want to play a martially skilled person who knows that the pointy end sticks int he bad guy. If you want to turn the party into a cheese-fest by making everyone in it superhuman, then don't use the fighter, rogue, or barbarian classes.
If they aren't a godlike superbeing, how are they standing toe-to-toe with these godlike superbeings? They very much are already surpassing the impossible, even if there is no claim to this effect.


We don't want to see Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas creating cities by smashing their fists into the ground. We don't mind seeing Gandalf occasionally display his wizardly power, but we expect at least a little bit of verisimilitude here.

Notwithstanding that Gandalf is a demi-god (Which isn't a claim any ordinary DnD character can claim, and one that isn't restricted to the Wizard class in any case), it is /exactly/ as believable for him to produce a city by waving his staff and imposing his will on the universe as it is for Gimli, Aragorn, or Legolas to do so by swinging their axe or sword, or shooting a bow. Either way, he's conjuring a city from nothing.


Then don't use the fighter class.

Personally, I like my rpgs to feel like a traditional fantasy novel.
So... you want the fighter to be able to strike fear into the hearts of a 10,000 strong army with a shout? Wipe out evil and fearsome monsters on their own?

High Level Fighters are supposed to achieve the fantastic, by sheer virtue of being high level.

Dan_Hemmens
2008-03-12, 02:11 PM
Then don't use the fighter class.

Personally, I like my rpgs to feel like a traditional fantasy novel.

That's the thing, though, there's nothing about D&D mages that feels like a traditional fantasy novel - unless you count D&D fiction.

If Gandalf worked like a D&D Wizard, the Lord of the Rings would go something like this:

Gandalf: "The only way to destroy the ring is to cast it into Orodruin's fire, whence it came, only that terrible heat can destroy it. But the road to Mordor is perilous."
Frodo: "I, Frodo, son of Drogo shall take the ring, though I do not know the way."
Gandalf: "Okay, hang on frodo." Scry. Teleport. "Right, here we are at the Crack of Doom, cast the ring into the pit."
Frodo: "I can't... the eye, the terrible eye..."
Gandalf: "Oh of course, silly me." Mind Blank.
Frodo: "Oh, I feel fine now." Throws ring in fire.
Gandalf: Teleport.
Sam: "Well, you're back."

Frosty
2008-03-12, 02:16 PM
For my money, rather than allowing Norrisisms to all the fighters, the simplest thing to do would be to actually have a rational, thought-through magic system with proper limits.

Basically I like systems where being a "necromancer" and being a "conjurer of demons" are different things.

While we're wishing for the moon on a stick, it'd be nice of Clerics got powers that fit their gods too...

I agree. Proper limits is key. Limited spell lists for the win!

Puggins
2008-03-12, 02:34 PM
The one problem that I have with Tome of Battle is that it intentionally mixed some very solid, nonmagical fixes to melee with supernatural fighting styles that gets people's panties in a bunch.

One of the biggest issues with melee in 3.5e is that melee specialists just aren't much better at it than spellcasters. Wizards don't make themselves "adequate" fighters with shapechange and similar spells, they make themselves SUPERIOR fighters than the fighters/barabarians/rangers/paladins themselves. base 3.5e has tons of wiggle room to make the fighter better without resorting to supernatural effects.

Enter the Tome of Battle. Ignore the obvious supernatural disciplines like Desert Wind, Devoted Spirit and Shadow Mind- those are the playground for wuxia fans, and can be ignored by the fantasy traditionalist. Focus on the non-supernatural styles- Diamond Mind, Stone Dragon and Ironheart specifically. These styles have tons of maneuvers that are close to cinematic, but far from supernatural- think along the lines of the Dark Border series by Phillip Bradley, for example.

Suddenly, the melee combatant (the warblade, in this case) becomes a fun, useful class that isn't quite on the level of the wizard, but is close enough to be competitive.

4e is actually doing maneuvers the right way, sorta divorcing them from the supernatural styles and putting them in the fighter class itself, which would've been great if TOB had done that.

Oslecamo
2008-03-12, 02:45 PM
That's the thing, though, there's nothing about D&D mages that feels like a traditional fantasy novel - unless you count D&D fiction.

If Gandalf worked like a D&D Wizard, the Lord of the Rings would go something like this:

Gandalf: "The only way to destroy the ring is to cast it into Orodruin's fire, whence it came, only that terrible heat can destroy it. But the road to Mordor is perilous."
Frodo: "I, Frodo, son of Drogo shall take the ring, though I do not know the way."
Gandalf: "Okay, hang on frodo." Scry. Teleport. "Right, here we are at the Crack of Doom, cast the ring into the pit."
Frodo: "I can't... the eye, the terrible eye..."
Gandalf: "Oh of course, silly me." Mind Blank.
Frodo: "Oh, I feel fine now." Throws ring in fire.
Gandalf: Teleport.
Sam: "Well, you're back."

Nevermind that Sauron is also an epic caster and probably protected his base with all kind of defensive anti scrying and anti teleport spells precisely to avoid this kind of thing.

Gandalf also throws a fireball to clean up some wolfs before trying to climb the mountain, altough it doesn't appear in the movie.

And fighters can already do incredible things at high levels. Fear shout? Intimidate anyone? And if you pick your feats right, you can pretty much destroy an evil army in a single charge.

Add in magical equipment and the figther will wipe out the smirk of gods.

Also it has been shown time and time again in the CO forums that even if the wizard buffs himself to heaven, an equally optimized fighter is still better at melee.

Most people however just don't know how to optimize fighters, and this leads to a lot of bad reputation on the class.

Rutee
2008-03-12, 02:50 PM
Mind Blank, Overland Flight, Teleport (Very high up over Mt. Doom), True Strike (Drop the ring into the Tiny or smaller red hole beneath you). Good game Sauron.

And you're still not addressing the point.

Dan_Hemmens
2008-03-12, 02:57 PM
Nevermind that Sauron is also an epic caster and probably protected his base with all kind of defensive anti scrying and anti teleport spells precisely to avoid this kind of thing.


Oh I see. So the reason that Gandalf doesn't behave anything like a D&D Wizard isn't because D&D Wizards are nothing like the wizards of classic fantasy, oh no.

No it's because Sauron was also a D&D wizard who had created a magic spell to stop Gandalf doing any magic.

Riiiiiight.

And of course he put those anti-scrying, anti-teleporting spells onto the Crack of Doom, because he totally expected that somebody might try to destroy the ring. After all, it's not like Sauron understands only desire, the desire for power. It's not like the thought that one would find the ring and seek, not to use it, but to destroy it, wouldn't enter his mind. Sauron totally called that play. It's right there in the book!

Talya
2008-03-12, 03:01 PM
See, all of these complaints about balance work under the incorrect assumption that fighters are useless and wizards reign supreme at upper levels. "Batman" doesn't exist outside hypothetical clinical scenarios, or campaigns with DMs that don't know what they are doing.

Oslecamo
2008-03-12, 03:11 PM
Mind Blank, Overland Flight, Teleport (Very high up over Mt. Doom), True Strike (Drop the ring into the Tiny or smaller red hole beneath you). Good game Sauron.

And you're still not addressing the point.

So remind me, what is your point?

The first point of the thread was "figthers vs mages" in fantasy.

Then you started about a guy who is suposedly a complete moron but also a general creating cities with a punch in the ground and I got lost.

Then you started saying the D&D fighter is a weakling and I countered it, because the D&D fighter can perfectly be made to slaughter monsters of his level at ease.

So, if that wasn't the point, then could you please point me to the metaphilosophical question you're discussing now so I can join properly?

To Dan_Hemmens: Actually you reminded me of a very important point. Gandalf keeps the whole first book saying how he won't use his powers unless really necessary because otherwise Sauron may sense his magic and send minions to intercept them.

And for someone who has been reading Oots, you should know anti magic magic. Cloister anyone? Anti teleport and scrying in your whole base in a nutshell. Sauron likes his privacy. And to also avoid Gandalf simply apearing in the sky and raining some hundred bolts on him. Also the ring, as a major artifact, can surely easily pierce such small things as mindblanck.

Dan_Hemmens
2008-03-12, 03:32 PM
See, all of these complaints about balance work under the incorrect assumption that fighters are useless and wizards reign supreme at upper levels. "Batman" doesn't exist outside hypothetical clinical scenarios, or campaigns with DMs that don't know what they are doing.

Speaking as a DM who didn't know what he was doing, I consider that to be a significant issue. As somebody who is more used to less ... challenge based ... RPGs my campaign was completely hosed by the fact that the Wizard could just plane shift/teleport everywhere, making a complete mockery of any semblance of worldbuilding. "Have to get this guy's lover out of hell, no problem, plane shift in plane shift out, job done."

High level Wizards are boring and if there is one thing magic should not be it is boring.

Dan_Hemmens
2008-03-12, 03:35 PM
To Dan_Hemmens: Actually you reminded me of a very important point. Gandalf keeps the whole first book saying how he won't use his powers unless really necessary because otherwise Sauron may sense his magic and send minions to intercept them.

Which, again, has no parallel in D&D.

Also, Scry/Teleport/Mindblank could literally destroy the ring in three combat rounds.

The point is that in fantasy the power of magic is inversely proportional to the frequency with which it is used. Gandalf might have incredible magical power, but he's prevented from ever using it.

In D&D magic is simple repeatable, and safe. No ifs, no buts, no questions asked. It solves problems trivially by the most direct method. It's boring.


And for someone who has been reading Oots, you should know anti magic magic. Cloister anyone? Anti teleport and scrying in your whole base in a nutshell. Sauron likes his privacy. And to also avoid Gandalf simply apearing in the sky and raining some hundred bolts on him. Also the ring, as a major artifact, can surely easily pierce such small things as mindblanck.

But again, the moment you're having to posit anti-magic-magic in order to explain why your mages never do any of the things mages do in D&D, it becomes an order of magnitude more sensible to just say "or maybe mages just don't work like that."

WalkingTarget
2008-03-12, 03:45 PM
That's the thing, though, there's nothing about D&D mages that feels like a traditional fantasy novel - unless you count D&D fiction.

If Gandalf worked like a D&D Wizard, the Lord of the Rings would go something like this:

Gandalf: "The only way to destroy the ring is to cast it into Orodruin's fire, whence it came, only that terrible heat can destroy it. But the road to Mordor is perilous."
Frodo: "I, Frodo, son of Drogo shall take the ring, though I do not know the way."
Gandalf: "Okay, hang on frodo." Scry. Teleport. "Right, here we are at the Crack of Doom, cast the ring into the pit."
Frodo: "I can't... the eye, the terrible eye..."
Gandalf: "Oh of course, silly me." Mind Blank.
Frodo: "Oh, I feel fine now." Throws ring in fire.
Gandalf: Teleport.
Sam: "Well, you're back."

I first found out about E6 just a few weeks ago and have since come to the conclusion that Middle-Earth (at least in the 3rd age) fits nicely there if one is to shoehorn it into a D&D context. I'd place Gandalf (the physical incarnation/restriction of the Maia Olorin) as a DMPC with more than the "standard" 6 levels (multiclass sorcerer/fighter if you ask me maybe a level or two in bard or cleric, despite his in-setting title of wizard, but with a fairly restricted spell list). There'd have to be a few house-ruled spells (for things that seem to be closest to Fireball but not as big or uncontrolled, possibly just related to the nifty fire-themed Wondrous Item he's carrying around), but otherwise there's nothing he does in the books of a higher spell-level than Lightning Bolt (as various people have pointed out since 1ed). I'm not saying that Tolkien magic isn't powerful, it's just that the spell lists are incredibly restricted compared to the PHB. Maybe if one were to take some of the lower level spells and increase opposing DC's... *thinks about Hold Portal vs. Dispel Magic or Knock in Moria*

I actually think that GoC's E6 interpretation of Sauron (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=3909510#post3909510) is pretty good and it only works out as CR11. Tolkien isn't D&D, but if you're going to try to model it as such you can't just use the Core D&D rules straight from the books. The setting simply doesn't allow PCs to get to high levels.

Damn it, now I can't stop thinking about how one would model characters. I honestly haven't ever tried to do it before.

Oslecamo
2008-03-12, 04:38 PM
Which, again, has no parallel in D&D.

Also, Scry/Teleport/Mindblank could literally destroy the ring in three combat rounds.

The point is that in fantasy the power of magic is inversely proportional to the frequency with which it is used. Gandalf might have incredible magical power, but he's prevented from ever using it.

In D&D magic is simple repeatable, and safe. No ifs, no buts, no questions asked. It solves problems trivially by the most direct method. It's boring.



So when you play D&D does the party wizard, after geting a quest, scries, buffs teleports and kills? Doesn't the BBEG takes countermeasues so you actually have to fight trough his dungeon of peril filled with monsters and traps?

Also, like someone said above, maybe it's just that Gandalf simply wasn't high level enough to cast teleport. It's a low level seting after all.

Thinker
2008-03-12, 04:43 PM
Warning, spoiler due to long post:

I don't understand why the entire range of levels needs to be mundane for all but a couple of classes. It seems like having a range of levels where a character is "realistic" and/or "gritty" could work well to allow balance and still have truly powerful abilities later on. At levels 1 - 10 the characters hit on the ranges of a normal person, finally becoming as superhuman as a standard action star at the upper levels of this range. At levels 11 - 20 they become truly fantastic, reaching amazing points of power that could be comparable to many demigods and heroes of legend. Finally, at levels 21+ the characters are literally challenging gods and scoffing in the face of death.

It’s been repeatedly said that people don't play all the way to level 20 as is. Most people have the "sweet spot" where they feel most comfortable playing. Dungeons and Dragons is meant to be a fairly generic system that suits most people's style of play. They can approximate this with the above method. I don't think the game should be exactly the same across all spectrums of levels.

In 3.5e a wizard transforms from a feeble, albeit potent, combatant who must rely on others to survive, let alone accomplish goals into one of the most powerful beings on the planet. Conversely a fighter starts off as a hardy warrior who regularly hews through weaker creatures and ends up exactly the same. There is no reason for this. Once you reach high levels you are no longer playing a gritty or realistic game. Just as adventurers explore more of the world, they explore more of their own power.

Leveling has never meshed well with western-style fantasy and folklore. Most stories are not of people increasing in power through internal merit, but instead are of being powerful and overcoming challenges of similar power. Because of this, if you want a western-style game you cannot explore the entire spectrum of levels. You must limit yourself to 5 or 10 levels before either rolling new characters or finishing the adventure.

I will probably have more to rant about later.

Rutee
2008-03-12, 04:57 PM
See, all of these complaints about balance work under the incorrect assumption that fighters are useless and wizards reign supreme at upper levels. "Batman" doesn't exist outside hypothetical clinical scenarios, or campaigns with DMs that don't know what they are doing.

Sigh. This isn't about Batman. This is about capability.

A high level fighter can swing a sword really well. He might just be able to jump almost as well as an olympic fighter, and.. climb like a really legendary climber.

A high level wizard can fly, shoot lightning from their fingertips, choke people over the phone a scrying pool, turn into anything from a tiny mouse to a Hydra, swing a sword really well, make people really big, Mind Control people, alter the fabric of reality, travel to other planes, create an illusory army, see the future, and so much more. None of that needs Batman. They may not be able to do it all at once, but they only need about 15 minutes to change their spellbook if they see some new obstacle during their explorations that they don't have a scroll prepared to deal with.

Notwithstanding that if the system is only fine with 'people who know what they're doing', this discourages new GMs from trying, because the system is going to /suck/ if you don't know what you're doing by running it.


So remind me, what is your point?
That there is no reason in any fiction, and very few game systems, that the magic any one mage can wield should be some panacea to any solution that could be, without also having other possible broad solutions (Martial Prowess, the fine art of the silver-tongued) that can be a panacea to any solution. The reason Gilgamesh, Heracles, and others have been disregarded has been divinity, no? Well, the prime examples y'all have of magic in fiction are just as divine, and less capable of doing whatever-the-hell-they-want via magic then a DnD wizard.



Also, like someone said above, maybe it's just that Gandalf simply wasn't high level enough to cast teleport. It's a low level seting after all.
Then why is he being portrayed as proof that high level magic is fine?

Jayabalard
2008-03-12, 05:11 PM
Why are warriors limited to the things that a normal person in the real world could do with a sharp piece of metal, while wizards can do literally anything.Because fighters don't use magic. That's what makes them fighters rather than wizards. If you don't use magic, you are limited to mundane, non-magical, non-fantastic, ordinary abilities.

Rutee
2008-03-12, 05:16 PM
Because fighters don't use magic. That's what makes them fighters rather than wizards. If you don't use magic, you are limited to mundane, non-magical, non-fantastic, ordinary abilities.

Why is it that the only way to be patently fantastic is to use the game mechanic that governs casting spells?

Indon
2008-03-12, 05:16 PM
Then why is he being portrayed as proof that high level magic is fine?

He's only one example of many - for most spells in the SRD, you can probably find a wizard who has casted it.

The problem isn't, then, the spells themselves, but the fact that Wizards just didn't _use_ them that often, and certainly didn't know as many as they're expected to on the internet.

Rutee
2008-03-12, 05:21 PM
They didn't know as many as /core/ expects them to know. You will probably find one or two wizards who can emulate one or two spells, I'm sure, but not 40 of them. The problem is, most heinously for Clerics and Druids, /they get the whole list/. All casters are offenders here, people. Let's not kid ourselves that it's limited to the wizards.

Y'all have fantasy staring you in the face that says Fighters can be so much more then what they are. That the most prominent counter is to say "That can be modeled with a spell" doesn't come change a thing; The problem is that the fighter can't access that spell (Unless, indeed, he's classed as a caster), and he certainly can't access anything diverse enough to actually portray high level fighters in fiction.

Jayabalard
2008-03-12, 05:22 PM
Why is it that the only way to be patently fantastic is to use the game mechanic that governs casting spells?Because fantastic, and unrealistic things are, magic; mundane, and ordinary things are non-magic.

You might as well ask "why are hot things hot?"

Rutee
2008-03-12, 05:30 PM
Because fantastic, and unrealistic things are, magic; mundane, and ordinary things are non-magic.

You might as well ask "why are hot things hot?"

Perhaps you should read a bit more of the thread. Fighters in fiction get to be fantastic and unrealistic. Call it Magic, call it preternatural skill, whatever. I don't care. What I do care about is that we then turn around to say "Okay, what that fighter did is magical, so this fighter can't do it, because Fighters aren't magical. Casters are" Fighters can take more punishment then a section of the Great Wall, and swim in lava. How are they /not/ magical, in some way?

Jayabalard
2008-03-12, 05:38 PM
Perhaps you should read a bit more of the thread. Fighters in fiction get to be fantastic and unrealistic. Call it Magic, call it preternatural skill, whatever. you're mixing up D&D fighters (the class) and people from fantasy who are "fighters" (ie, fight things)... they're not the same thing at all. D&D fighters do not have magical abilities; they're pretty much as mundane as a class gets.

If you want a "fighter" who has magical abilities, you should pick one of the myriad classes that can both fight, and has magical abilities, not a mundane fighter.

Morty
2008-03-12, 05:45 PM
yD&D fighters do not have magical abilities; they're pretty much as mundane as a class gets.


So falling from great discances, cleaving through whole armies and sustaining a barrage of crossbow bolts is mundane?
I must be having that deja vu thing, because I can swear I've seen that discussion twice before.

Jayabalard
2008-03-12, 05:52 PM
So falling from great distances, cleaving through whole armies and sustaining a barrage of crossbow bolts is mundane?
I must be having that deja vu thing, because I can swear I've seen that discussion twice before.HP are an abstract, and represent much more than just what punishment you can take.

People have survived falling great distances with little to no injury in the real world... great distances as in their parachute didn't open, so surviving that fall is easily explained away by the fact that hp abstracts a combination of luck and skill in avoiding injury. Surviving a barrage of crossbow bolts is even easier to explain, since a "hit" is also an abstract and does not mean it actually causes any real injury.

Rutee
2008-03-12, 05:58 PM
you're mixing up D&D fighters (the class) and people from fantasy who are "fighters" (ie, fight things)... they're not the same thing at all. D&D fighters do not have magical abilities; they're pretty much as mundane as a class gets.
I'm not mixing jack up. I know what Fighters are in DnD. I'm questioning why we did this to them, and why we don't fix it.


People have survived falling great distances with little to no injury in the real world... great distances as in their parachute didn't open, so surviving that fall is easily explained away by the fact that hp abstracts a combination of luck and skill in avoiding injury. Surviving a barrage of crossbow bolts is even easier to explain, since a "hit" is also an abstract and does not mean it actually causes any real injury.
I would call that supernatural luck.

Dan_Hemmens
2008-03-12, 06:04 PM
Because fighters don't use magic. That's what makes them fighters rather than wizards. If you don't use magic, you are limited to mundane, non-magical, non-fantastic, ordinary abilities.

That's not quite what I'm asking. I'm asking why Wizards get access to every conceivable effect that could be achieved by magic.

If somebody created a homebrewed class which had full BAB, 8 + Int Modifier skills, Sneak Attack, Fighter bonus feats, monk Unarmed damage and Bardic Music, people would (rightly) denounce it as totally broken, because it combines all the possible things that can be achieved by mundane means into a single package.

Mages, however, get exactly that, but with magic. They can throw fireballs and teleport and raise the dead and summon creatures from other planes and create illusions and control minds.

"Mundane" characters get a single mundane skill (fight with swords, play really good music, pick locks and disarm traps). Mages get every magical skill.

You could limit Wizards to spells of a single school, and magic would still be a good deal.

Thinker
2008-03-12, 06:08 PM
Because fantastic, and unrealistic things are, magic; mundane, and ordinary things are non-magic.

You might as well ask "why are hot things hot?"

I don't think that at all levels of play "mundane" classes should be limited to the mundane. I don't see any reason to keep progressing any of the mundane classes beyond level 10 if you're going to limit it to the peak of human ability. Cleaving through a tree in a single blow, demolishing a stone wall, and shouting a deafening warcry are all examples of things a high level fighter could do as extensions of their mundane roots.

I have seen several arguments that say that none of the "fighter" type heroes are really fighters because they gain strength from faith or via birthright. If you go by that basis, there is no reason to have the fighter class in DnD. You may as well stop at warrior. Stories aren't written about Joe Average because that would be boring.

Smiley_
2008-03-12, 06:21 PM
I have read this entire thread, and it seems like quite the ping pong match, Thiss seems to be the argument against fighters so far:


Supernatural and fantastic feats of prowess are automatically "magic" it seems.

A high level fighter can perform these fantastic feats, which must be magic.

The fighter is not a fighter and must be magical in some way! Cuz it's magic! and fighters are completely mundane. He must be a magic using martial class!


This logic seems very loopy to me. Magic is not the force that drives Barbarians and Fighters or Beowulf or Samson or any of the heroes mentioned (except maybe Conan). It is resolve and strength of spirit and, in the case of beowulf and samson, faith that drives them which could produce feats as fantastic as any form of whitchcraft.

Gilgamesh really doesn't count cause historians think that the monsters he slayed were most likley analogies for surrounding kingdoms.

A high level barbarian or fighter can defeat armies as he becomes more in-tune with his self as a being. He transcends anything that can be mundane. Is it magic, divine or otherwise? Hell, no. Is it a fantastic feat that could not be achieved by normal men? Yes!

However, the spellcaster can easily duplicate this inner strength without effort with a few well chosen spells and a bit of finger waggling. With no reprocussions or consequenses either!

this doesn't seem quite fair to the fighter or barbarian

Heck, Bill the commoner doesn't need to sacrifice his first son to a dark demon overlord and study for years in some tower for magical powers. He just picks up a scythe and whacks monkeys and rats until he drums up enough experience, and WHAM, COM1/WIZ1 with, lets say intelligence of 10, cantrips. He can cast ray of frost and make forks out of thin air! He's doing something that would be impossible. The whole magic system does seem a tad off.

Meh, probably just babling.

Oslecamo
2008-03-12, 06:26 PM
I'm not mixing jack up. I know what Fighters are in DnD. I'm questioning why we did this to them, and why we don't fix it.


I would call that supernatural luck.

There are more than a 100 base classes in D&D.

Like someone else said, hey, nobody forces you to play a fighter. They even printed tome of battle precisely for people like you.

What you need to understand is that just like you love to make your fighter create cities with a punch and making his sword catch flames just because he's so badass, there are people who like their fighters to be as nonfantastic as possible. This is the D&D fighter class, greatsword Joe who kills the great demon by bashing him repeatedly with his sword untill it dies, with no need of riping holes in reality or shooting lasers from his eyes or other stuff like this.

This is the LOTR warrior and the King artur kind of warrior. He knows how to use a sword really well, but doesn't have an array of secret techniques
nor can he do fancy show off stuff like shooting fire or making his enemies die with a scream.

Oslecamo
2008-03-12, 06:40 PM
However, the spellcaster can easily duplicate this inner strength without effort with a few well chosen spells and a bit of finger waggling. With no reprocussions or consequenses either!

this doesn't seem quite fair to the fighter or barbarian


Do the math again. With a good combination of feats, the fighter will defeat the buffed wizard/cleric/druid in melee. The barbarian's rage can't really be duplicated and pounce makes all the diference. Enter prc like frenzied berseker and the wizard/cleric/druid will want to stay as far away from melee as possible.

They are good, but the fighter/barbarian is better.

AmberVael
2008-03-12, 06:55 PM
After reading through the thread again and all the arguments therein, I have been forced to come to this conclusion:
There is nothing wrong with the fighter class, as presented. It uses a slow, steady progression, and is representative of a mundane, if epic, warrior. This is the type of class, as said before, represents the LotR hero, or maybe some of the Greek heroes mention in the Iliad (not like Achilles, but say, Ajax, or perhaps Menelaus). They are strong, but constricted (mostly) to normal physics.

On the other hand, there's nothing wrong with the wizard class. It may not be how I picture a wizard, but the range of abilities presented are well chosen, and the eventual power level works extremely well for an epic power, a mage who can tear down cities and craft mountains. The same goes for the 'epic' and "supernatural" fighter that has been presented in the thread.

The problem, therefore, is not with either class, or the concept of a more supernatural fighter, but that DnD 3.5 has decided to present the DnD fighter and the DnD wizard in one set- for use in the same game. A mundane fighter is simply out of place when it comes to real combat in a setting full of wizards- sure, some might still practice mundane combat, like some practice martial arts today, but you'd see very little of it in practical use.

What DnD perhaps should have done, instead, was release different sets and levels of characters for use in different styles of games. A supernatural fighter for a higher level magic setting, a mundane fighter in a more restricted magic setting. Instead, however, they made a fatal error and tried to released a mundane fighter in a setting balanced more towards high end magic- it was simply a bad idea, like going into the army as a martial artist and trying to beat up people who are using guns.

So I'm afraid I can't disagree with either side, since both make very valid points one way or another, but never really attack the right problem. The problem does not lie with any concept of classes, but the use of both in the same setting.

^: And that, by the way, is patently wrong. A buffed cleric/druid will own a fighter (or perhaps a barbarian).

Rutee
2008-03-12, 07:01 PM
There are more than a 100 base classes in D&D.

Like someone else said, hey, nobody forces you to play a fighter. They even printed tome of battle precisely for people like you.
Ugh. You're still missing the point. There is at least a page of posts from 'people like you' claiming you can not be supernatural through mundane means. You have been demonstrably proven wrong. You continue to maintain that you can not be supernatural through mundane means. More to the point, It is a uniquely Dungeons and Dragons view that because I can dive through a thousand books to make a concept in my head, the system is fine.

horseboy
2008-03-12, 07:04 PM
This is the LOTR warrior and the King artur kind of warrior. He knows how to use a sword really well, but doesn't have an array of secret techniques nor can he do fancy show off stuff like shooting fire or making his enemies die with a scream.Except the fighter fails at that and just becomes a pack mule for the party around 8-10.

horseboy
2008-03-12, 07:07 PM
After reading through the thread again and all the arguments therein, I have been forced to come to this conclusion:
There is nothing wrong with the fighter class, as presented. I agree, it's not the fighter class, it's the weapons he uses. They stop being dangerous after around level 5.

Smiley_
2008-03-12, 07:22 PM
The fighter will always have something over a caster. The ability to take abuse and pure strength.

This is extremely usefull when you do not try to walk up and hit the opponent with a pointy bit of metal, but actually try to put a bit of effort into the fighting style like the wizard puts into his magic. Take a few tactical feats, like shock trooper, and try out improved trip, improved sunder(which I found works wonders with a raging barbarian and the combat brute tactical feat) and sunder the wizard's headband of intellect or smash that pesky floating shield or dancing sword into oblivion (it should also be noted that adamantine weapons negate any hardness below 20, such as +4 iron weaopns and
shields or +2 mithrill weapons or shields).

Also, improved bullrush is good for getting close and personal with a wizard. It requires strength to push people out of your way or bowl them over, and hitpoints, seeing as people will probably be beating on you with their own pointy sticks.

Anywhoo, just a bit more conjecture.

Oslecamo
2008-03-12, 07:23 PM
Ugh. You're still missing the point. There is at least a page of posts from 'people like you' claiming you can not be supernatural through mundane means. You have been demonstrably proven wrong. You continue to maintain that you can not be supernatural through mundane means. More to the point, It is a uniquely Dungeons and Dragons view that because I can dive through a thousand books to make a concept in my head, the system is fine.

How have I been proven wrong? All you have to suport your case is obscure self contradictory legends where people whitout any kind of brains can become generals, whitout developing their brains. Or do you consider it is only "magic" when the author of the story writes in big capital letters that the amazing move the hero just did was magic? If the authors did this the story would quickly grow prety boring because half the text would be spent to point
this out.

Anyway, supernatural=magic as far as D&D cares. If you are using any other definition of supernatural please point it out.

Also, since there are thousands if not millions of hero concepts in all of the fantasy of the world, then I find it pretty natural you'll need a pretty big and complex gaming system to represent them all.

Thinker
2008-03-12, 07:25 PM
Do the math again. With a good combination of feats, the fighter will defeat the buffed wizard/cleric/druid in melee. The barbarian's rage can't really be duplicated and pounce makes all the diference. Enter prc like frenzied berseker and the wizard/cleric/druid will want to stay as far away from melee as possible.

They are good, but the fighter/barbarian is better.

It doesn't matter if Max the Cleric only does 600 damage compared to Sam the Fighter's 800 damage. Both will only be against a single target and both will drop the target in a single hit. Further, Max will have greater tools and versatility with which to harm other sorts of targets and overcome other sorts of challenges. It is also harder to optimize the "mundane" classes than it is to optimize the other sorts. That is the true test of power: how powerful will the character be with a similar degree of optimization?

Unfortunately this is getting a bit off topic so I will avoid replying to this vein of posts.

Rutee
2008-03-12, 07:47 PM
How have I been proven wrong? All you have to suport your case is obscure self contradictory legends where people whitout any kind of brains can become generals, whitout developing their brains. Or do you consider it is only "magic" when the author of the story writes in big capital letters that the amazing move the hero just did was magic? If the authors did this the story would quickly grow prety boring because half the text would be spent to point this out.

Obscure, perhaps, to westerners with no sense of multiculturalism. The Rot3K is actually fairly well known. And I suppose I was unfair somewhat to Zhang Fei; He's of predominantly average intelligence. This is just functionally the same thing as "Dumb as a brick" when compared to great minds such as Zhuge Liang, Guo Jia, and Zhou Yu.

That said, Zhang Fei was never my primary case. That would probably be good ol' Gilgamesh, or the Yellow Emperor. You simply chose to attack Zhang Fei non-stop, because you don't have anything better to do with your time. Of course, neither do I, since I'm defending it.

As to "Do you need to be told it's Magic"? Yes. Yes an author does need to spell out that it's Magic, as DnD defines it, for me to say "Yes. This is Magic as DnD defines it". I have no doubt that what was accomplished by the above 3 men is so far removed from humanity's limits that we can call it 'magic'. What I doubt is that we can turn around and say "These effects belong to the wizard, and only the wizard, and ne'er shall a non-caster class replicate it without pretending to be a caster (UMD)"


Anyway, supernatural=magic as far as D&D cares. If you are using any other definition of supernatural please point it out.

AMF kills both, sure. Non wizards produce (Su) effects on their own. And quite frankly, the amount of damage a higher level character can take is by definition (Su), no matter how much you try and rationalize it away.

Frosty
2008-03-12, 07:50 PM
Casters = good at many things. Fighters = good at a few at best.

Chosen_of_Vecna
2008-03-12, 08:38 PM
Point the first: Wizards' advantages vastly outweigh those disadvantages. If a Fighter is 0+0, and a Warblade is 0 + 2, a Wizard would be like, -2 + 7. A warblade may not have weaknesses, but his strengths still aren't large enough to overcome a Wizard's Strengths + Weaknesses.

Balance is a very different issue from having superhuman abilities through skill with a sword. D&D has the second one.


Point the Second: I do not require the melee to be able to accomplish the impossible an infinite number of times a day. Why should reality warping by sword fighting be less draining then reality warping by finger waggling?

But you just complained about not wanting to use the spells per day system. You can just as easily claim your Sorcerer obtains his power through "sheer badassery" and punching the ground as through finger waggling.


Third, you're restricting yourself to DnD when you say this. In the systems I used earlier, a martialist is /not/ inherently more hardy then a scholar. They start from the same base, and have to pay just as much to become hardy as the other. And having less capability to smack stuff around physically is equally not as much of a disadvantage, because you don't /need/ to smack stuff around physically.

Right, and so if you want to go play in one of these perfect systems that represent exactly what you want, go play in them. But D&D doesn't need to be GURPS. D&D can be just D&D.

Rutee
2008-03-12, 08:47 PM
Balance is a very different issue from having superhuman abilities through skill with a sword. D&D has the second one.
True, but the two are related when wizards are thrown in the mix.


But you just complained about not wanting to use the spells per day system. You can just as easily claim your Sorcerer obtains his power through "sheer badassery" and punching the ground as through finger waggling.
The spells per day system, as a mechanic that allows free and expansive spell lists, is restricted to full casters. So no, I don't want to use it. I have no problem with a mechanic that restricts me from doing the impossible whenever I could possibly want, in theory. Provided that the mechanic is applied more universally.

I suppose, effectively, that means that I actually wouldnt' mind Spells per Day, per se, actually. But I don't want Full Casters, and I don't want Gishes (I think). The latter is more about casting buffs and specific other spells to get into melee. I think, anyway. The former, obviously, isn't what I'm talking about, at all.



Right, and so if you want to go play in one of these perfect systems that represent exactly what you want, go play in them. But D&D doesn't need to be GURPS. D&D can be just D&D.

There's no need to go "GTFO".

Thoughtbot360
2008-03-12, 10:02 PM
Because they are FIGHTERS. That's fairly self explanatory! Nobody should be able to do through mundane means the vast possibilities available through the supernatural.

If you want to be an expert swordsman, accept your limitations.

If you don't want to accept your limitations, be a spellcaster or magic user of some sort.

But thats just it though. Spellcaster classes (on paper at least) DO have limitations. If the whole point was to make a spellcaster where he absolutely could not overextend himself our ever somehow be outsmarted by a fighter because of his infinite contingencies, than why half-ass it?

Why give wizards low hit points and BAB? Why not give them a Monk's Saving Throws? Why give them a limited number on spells per day at all? (I mean seriously, I've talked about Wands and Scrolls already...)

Why give monsters spell resistance?

Why deceive the newbies with the appearance that you are somehow penalized for picking a Wizard over a Fighter. Why give the appearance that the Rogue is a legitimate choice and *isn't* going to be completely outclassed by one of the Druid's class features?

Why not just give spellcasters most of or all of the noncasters' powers, just so that us "idiots" learning the game have no illusions of game balance?

Unless the designers wanted there to be game balance, but screwed up.

Hence, we get infinity threads like this a day here at giantip.com.....

Artemician
2008-03-12, 10:31 PM
Is the D&D representation of magic the only possible representation of the very vaguely defined force called magic?

Heck no!

Cuchulain, Gilgamesh, et al, they definitely had something that made them super, be it Geasa, Divine Blood, Chutzpah, or sheer manliness. But did they ever cast a spell, in the way D&D represents it? No.

They were warriors, Fighting men. What they did, the accomplished through force of arms. But they still managed to make a lot of crazy things happen. They're not mundane, by any means. However, that doesn't necessarily mean that they're magi either.

A superhuman being is not always a mage, even though this is a conception that D&D seems to put out. It's false, of course. Monks can teleport. A Warblade built with Ex maneuvers can pull off all sorts of crazy stunts while still remaining patently unmagical.

If you define Magic as any supernatural force, then every single high level character is a magical being. No exceptions. Tracking a toad through a mile of swamp whilst its raining, climbing up sopping wet rock faces at 60 ft/rd, jumping off a building and surviving, calling down the gods with a serenade - these acts are all within the province of the high-level 'mundane' character.

However, if you define Magic in the D&D way, that its a series of memorized or spontaneously cast spell slots (let's refer to this as 'Vancian' from now, to avoid confusion), there's absolutely no reason why a Vancian being is more powerful than another supernatural, non-Vancian being. A Vancian being studies as hard as the non-Vancian being, so why should he have a greater payoff? Both of them are just as Supernatural, except one does it in a more structured fashion. So why should one lord it over the other?

The_Werebear
2008-03-13, 01:47 AM
Two Things:

First: All parts of ToB can be explained as nonmagical, just amazingly badass. Primarily, there are several schools that have very little supernatural effects. Setting Sun, Stone Dragon, White Raven, Iron Heart, Diamond Mind, and Tiger Claw to some degree are all physically possible, if not incredibly likely. Many of the effects are variations of the theme "Hit something very hard," "Hit something Very fast," "Avoid/negate being hit yourself."

For the supernatural schools, only a little work is required to make them totally nonmagic. For Devoted Spirit, say simply that all healing comes from inspiring morale and revitalization of spirit, and all alignment based effects are from personal inspiration and faith. For Desert Wind and Shadow Hand, it is a bit harder, but it can be summed up with this: "I am an alchemist. I work many potions and powders into my fighting style. I have powders that will burst into flames if thrown into the air, or create a cloud of swirling black dust around me that conceals my movements."

Second: The problem here is not with Fighters. The problem is with Arcanists. I have always been a big advocate of cutting their powers down. I have a few possible solutions for quick and dirty fixes.
A) Give all casters a spell cap at the 6th Spell level. They all cast at the bardic progression. This cuts out the vast majority of the really offensive stuff.
B) Require heavy specialization. As in, you pick two schools that you can have and get a small selection of universal spells. Everything else is a no go.
C) Require an immediate price. 1d4 Subdual damage per spell level is a good starting point, and there is a basis in myth for spellcasters exhausting themselves by repeated castings. But some price to make Arcanists hesitant to break out the magic when mundane solutions are available.

Indon
2008-03-13, 09:30 AM
I'm not mixing jack up. I know what Fighters are in DnD. I'm questioning why we did this to them, and why we don't fix it.

Probably because not everyone wants their characters to have gimmicks.

Say D&D had a system in which the universe was described as pliable to just normal thoughts, that everyone had (kinda like Dynamic Magic in Mage: The Awakening, but way way weaker). Let's further say the system is mechanically weak. There would be people who would prefer to play characters purposefully optimized towards the pseudomagic system over the Wizard.

So not everyone wants to play The Flash (molecular vibration) or Dr. Strange (obviously Magic). Some people want to play, say, the Punisher, or Daredevil (and even he has a gimmick, though it really only does one thing), who really can only do one or two exceptional things no matter how good they get at other mundane tasks.

Jayabalard
2008-03-13, 09:39 AM
I'm not mixing jack up. I know what Fighters are in DnD. I'm questioning why we did this to them, and why we don't fix it.Obviously you are, if you think that the D&D fighter class is intended to be used to represent people with lots of supernatural powers rather than a guy who hits things with sharp metal objects.

As for why we did this: there is a "fighter" archtype with no supernatural abilities, and the D&D Fighter class exists to model them. There are fighter archtypes that have various degrees of supernatural abilities, and there are other D&D classes that were created to model them.

As for why we don't fix it: we don't fix it because it's not broken. That's the intent. The fighter is not meant to be the class that you think that it is. That's why we have other "fighter" type classes in D&D

If you don't want to play a guy with no supernatural abilities, it makes 0 sense to play a fighter (the class with no supernatural abilities) and then complain that fighters are broken because they do not get any supernatural abilities. There are other classes that gain supernatural abilities; if you want to create a character with those abilities, it's simple enough to pick one of those classes, since they exist to model the "guy who fights and has magical supernatural abilities".


Cuchulain, Gilgamesh, et al, they definitely had something that made them super, be it Geasa, Divine Blood, Chutzpah, or sheer manliness. But did they ever cast a spell, in the way D&D represents it? No.The fighter class is a bad class to model them then.

I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with modeling them, or playing characters like them, just that that's not what the fighter is for.


First: All parts of ToB can be explained as nonmagical, just amazingly badass. I disagree; labeling something non-magical does not make it any less magical.

If you're standing on the ceiling due to your "badassness", you're using magic.

Rutee
2008-03-13, 10:10 AM
So not everyone wants to play The Flash (molecular vibration) or Dr. Strange (obviously Magic). Some people want to play, say, the Punisher, or Daredevil (and even he has a gimmick, though it really only does one thing), who really can only do one or two exceptional things no matter how good they get at other mundane tasks.

Why in God's Green Earth would you have the Punisher Class next to the Dr. Strange Class, and expect them to be in the same game?



Obviously you are, if you think that the D&D fighter class is intended to be used to represent people with lots of supernatural powers rather than a guy who hits things with sharp metal objects.

If the fighter archetype isn't supposed to represent mythical and fictional characters who fought, why is the wizard archetype supposed to represent mythical and fictional characters who cast spells?

Oslecamo
2008-03-13, 10:42 AM
If the fighter archetype isn't supposed to represent mythical and fictional characters who fought, why is the wizard archetype supposed to represent mythical and fictional characters who cast spells?

Because indeed the wizard isn't suposed to represent everybody who casts spells.

We also have the sorceror, with inate magic ability, more raw power but less versatility, whose power indeed derives from his badassness(charisma).

We have the cleric, the chosen of the gods full of divine power and able to do miracles.

We have the druid, the servant of mother earth, capable of summoning the forces of nature and even transforming into them.

And we have the bard, the manipulator with a silver tongue and a good crack for magic, but not as strong as the others.

Rutee
2008-03-13, 10:59 AM
Wrong; Only 3 of those represent the character imposing their will on the universe. And the Bard more accurately represents typical fictional limits then the other two. The other two are characters begging divine forces to do it.

More to the point, you expect the /core/ classes to represent the majority of spellcasters. As you have insisted, earlier in the thread, swordswingers are far more common in fantasy, overall, then spellslingers, let alone spellslingers that can use their powers whenever they fragging want with no real penalty. Why then, are there 2 archetypes, with 2 different flavor twistings, of spellslingers (Because the Bard hardly is there to represent the typical fictional wizard, even if he more accurately conveys their limits) among core classes, with only two flavors of sword swinging, both hearkening back to the same non-magical archetype?

And indeed, you have /still/ not responded to the simple fact that a high level character is by definition fantastic; Look at the /damage/ they can endure. There's no possible way you can call that anything but superhuman.

And on that note, Jayabalard, you claim I am mixing them up. Is the fighter class to be restricted to Aragorn and Gimli (Whom themselves are superhuman, far and away above what a figher can reasonably accomplish), then? If fantasy archetypes present fighters in a superhuman light more often then not (And they do, at the very least until the last 2 decades), why then, do we limit the Fighter to the strictly human?

And again, why in God's Green Earth would we put a character meant to be strictly human next to characters meant to completely ignore the laws of reality, then expect anything resembling a good dynamic between the two to occur? We can't even get a Batman/Superman thing going, since casters effectively /are/ batman.

The_Werebear
2008-03-13, 11:14 AM
I disagree; labeling something non-magical does not make it any less magical.

If you're standing on the ceiling due to your "badassness", you're using magic.

First, everything in 7 of the 9 schools is specifically described as Extraordinary. Even Devoted Spirit.

Second, if you are standing on the ceiling because you developed Velcro boots and have an amazing climb skill, you are a badass, not a magician. And the remaining two schools in ToB can be quickly adjusted to using magic potions, tools, and salves rather than being magic through sword waving, if that's what floats your boat. It is what I do when I describe it.

Oslecamo
2008-03-13, 12:01 PM
Wrong; Only 3 of those represent the character imposing their will on the universe. And the Bard more accurately represents typical fictional limits then the other two. The other two are characters begging divine forces to do it.

More to the point, you expect the /core/ classes to represent the majority of spellcasters. As you have insisted, earlier in the thread, swordswingers are far more common in fantasy, overall, then spellslingers, let alone spellslingers that can use their powers whenever they fragging want with no real penalty. Why then, are there 2 archetypes, with 2 different flavor twistings, of spellslingers (Because the Bard hardly is there to represent the typical fictional wizard, even if he more accurately conveys their limits) among core classes, with only two flavors of sword swinging, both hearkening back to the same non-magical archetype?

And indeed, you have /still/ not responded to the simple fact that a high level character is by definition fantastic; Look at the /damage/ they can endure. There's no possible way you can call that anything but superhuman.


Fine. Maybe the core classes can't describe everything perfectly. People like you complained so much that wotc printed the:

Wu jen, the oriental caster, with powers around the chinese elemental tematic.

Beguiller, focused in illusions and mind control, for your dark magician who hides in the back.

Warmage, for those who think that mages should go around blasting stuff.

Dread necro, the budget necromancer.

Warlock. This one actually become very popular. Can't make the broken magic like time stop and gate, but can still do the classic stuff like shooting balls of energy, tentacles from the ground, invisibility, etc. Even has an evil pact with outsider forces included.

The factoctum, wich can cast up to 7th level spells, but only a small handfull per day, for your seting where magic is scarce and even the greatest heros can only shoot only one or two spells.

And then we have an array of prc if you want to specialize even more.

Also, there must have been some confusion here. I never said the high level fighter couldn't do impossible things.

What I said it's that there is a lot of diferent "flashy stuff" levels in fantasy, and the fighter only uses the most bottom of them. The wizard gets to stop time and twisting reality. The fighter gets to cleave mountains and endure lava as it was water. A world of diference between the 2.

There is a lot of impossible things in fantasy, in diferent power levels. The fighter gets the most simple, aka big destructivie power and big resistance whitout being flashy about it.

The fighter doesn't waste time making his blade catch fire by his awesomes or dancing around for no reason before striking. He charges and he bashes his blade against his target untill he doesn't move anymore.

The fighter doesn't conjure a shield of force of will to protect him from that spell or dodges at supersonic speed. He endures it with only his guts because he has already taken so much spells and stuff it has grown used to it.

Artemician
2008-03-13, 12:30 PM
The issue here is not whether *all* fighters should be supernatural. It is whether *high-level fighters* should be thus.

Whether they are or not depends entirely on your playstyle. In a nitty-gritty kind of setting, you wouldn't expect a fighter to go around splitting mountains and whatnot, because that's out of place.

However, in a high-level, high-powered setting, you would. Why? Because the fighter is at the same level as the Wizard. He's supposed to contribute in a roughly equal fashion, albeit in a different way.

Look at it like this; if the Magi are dark, shunned people who obtained power at great cost, and can only use it intermittently, fighters should be mundane. But if the Magi are walking atom-bombs of pure d-struction and who do it many times a day (as is the case with D&D), then you would expect a fighter of equavilent level to possess power of such a magnitude.

Rutee
2008-03-13, 12:37 PM
Fine. Maybe the core classes can't describe everything perfectly. People like you complained so much that wotc printed the:
How altruistic of them; They printed those because they would sell, and nothing more.


What I said it's that there is a lot of diferent "flashy stuff" levels in fantasy, and the fighter only uses the most bottom of them. The wizard gets to stop time and twisting reality. The fighter gets to cleave mountains and endure lava as it was water. A world of diference between the 2.
The fighter doesn't get to cleave mountains without extensive DM Fiat that isn't supported by the system, and most GMs seem turned off by the idea of the fighter surviving a lava bath, because 'nobody could survive that'.


There is a lot of impossible things in fantasy, in diferent power levels. The fighter gets the most simple, aka big destructivie power and big resistance whitout being flashy about it.
He doesn't get either. If he got big resistance, he'd have more good saves and a useful amount of SR for free. He doesn't get big destructive power either; If he's lucky and Two-handing, he can get 4d12 +6x Strength though. Wizards, at that point, get something like 20d6, targeting Touch AC and Reflex Saves, both of which are typically lower then AC.


The fighter doesn't waste time making his blade catch fire by his awesomes or dancing around for no reason before striking. He charges and he bashes his blade against his target untill he doesn't move anymore.
No, the fighter doesn't do that. The fighter gets hosed by something that can legitimately threaten the wizard.


The fighter doesn't conjure a shield of force of will to protect him from that spell or dodges at supersonic speed. He endures it with only his guts because he has already taken so much spells and stuff it has grown used to it.
Read: He does so naked and praying he rolls well on his saves. And God help him if he's in plate and someone targets reflex or Touch.

Frosty
2008-03-13, 04:28 PM
If Fighters actually have natural defenses, it'd be more balanced. But fighters get a good fort save. that's it. woopee doo.

Oslecamo
2008-03-13, 05:01 PM
How altruistic of them; They printed those because they would sell, and nothing more.


The fighter doesn't get to cleave mountains without extensive DM Fiat that isn't supported by the system, and most GMs seem turned off by the idea of the fighter surviving a lava bath, because 'nobody could survive that'.


He doesn't get either. If he got big resistance, he'd have more good saves and a useful amount of SR for free. He doesn't get big destructive power either; If he's lucky and Two-handing, he can get 4d12 +6x Strength though. Wizards, at that point, get something like 20d6, targeting Touch AC and Reflex Saves, both of which are typically lower then AC.


No, the fighter doesn't do that. The fighter gets hosed by something that can legitimately threaten the wizard.


Then why does he endure it so much less?

Well now you're just ignoring the D&D rules.

First, a simple build of fighter of DOOMMMMMM for begginers:

0-Power attack. Dooohhhh. All fighters pick it sooner or later.

1-Leap attack is a classic, tripling the extra damage you get from power attack when using a weapon with both hands.

2- Now grab a shield and use it two handed. Pick the improved shield charge feat wich doubles the damge you do in a charge with a shield.

3-Combat brute allows you to get 3 points of damge for each point of attack penalty you take with power attack when using a weapon with both hands.

4-Shock trooper allows you to sacrifice AC instead of attack bonus to feed power attack.

So, taking a -20 penalty to AC and a nonmagical shield(1d6), we get:

2x(20x5+3)=206 damage. And I still didn't add strenght bonus.

How much deals a maximized meteor swarm? 24x6=144 damage. Figther is doing more damage than a magic meteor. With a shield.


Pick 1 single level of barbarian for rage and pounce(full attack when charging)
and things start to go over the roof.

Or get a mount and spirited charge and deal triple damage with a lance when charging.

And this is from a lowly optimizer like me. Go to the CO forums and they'll probably give you something more sick

Next point, cleaving mountains.

Every solid object has HP, hardness and breack strenght DC.

With power attack and his feats rightly chosen, the fighter can easily overcome rock hardness(8) with a 2 handed weapon. Rock has 15 Hp per 5 feet square with an inch of tickness (see wall of stone). Thus, a single blow of the fighter will leave a hole around 10 inches deep in a 5 foot area of a mountain.

With 4 attacks per round(minimum) the lv20 fighter will turn a mountain in dust in no time.

Next point, threaten monsters?

He's dealing more than 200 damage in a charge whitout sweating. If you're not the the Tarrasque himself you're better keep far away.

Resisting? Ok, that's the main weack point of the figther. Sucky will sure is annoying. But a couple of rightly chosen feats can give you a fat bonus to will saves, and the right items will allow you to don't drop dead instantly unless you're really unlucky.

Even the casters use items high level.

The_Werebear
2008-03-13, 05:40 PM
@ Oslecamo

The thing is, the fighter will never touch the wizard in all of that.

The other thing to consider is that the fighter did that to one guy. The wizard just destroyed a bar and everyone in it.

Rutee
2008-03-13, 05:41 PM
You know, the only thing I saw in there in my PHB is Power Attack; Is your solution to everythign "Book Dive and optimize enough"? Because I wouldn't need any of that crap to do really monstrous things with a wizard.

And you call making 40 inches of headway into a mountain cleaving it? Roland cleaving an enormous hole into the Spanish countryside with Durendal was cleaving a mountain. That's pretty liberal use of language. Also, a cursory look through self-same PHB: Transmute Rock to Mud. Fifth level spell, and at it's earliest use (9th level), a Wizard can remove.. 18 10 foot cubes (For a total amount of 'cleaving' of 180 cubic feet). At 20th level, they will be burrowing through at 400 cubic feet a round, and if they really want to devote themselves to this burrowing that day, they can remove 8000 cubic feet of stone. So, let's see; Every 2 rounds (Because you're factoring a Charge into your damage to double it, so you have to back off and Charge again), your optimized fighter clears 4.16 repeating cubic feet a round. It's going to take 1924 repetitions of this 12 second feat to surpass what the non-optimized wizard did in about 2 minutes. I'll grant that over time, the Wizard will bury through rock /slightly/ slower.. but I didn't even optimize. I just looked in the book and cast the bare number of spells per day. If this were a Sorceror in the same contest, they'd get to dig through about /12000/ cubic feet in a day. The Fighter was cutting it close to the 8 hour mark before, but he'd lose. And again, I didn't optimize or book dive.

Edit: Checked on this. La Breche de Roland, which in myth was made by Roland, is about 400 cubic meters, or roughly 1600 cubic feet, across. One. Swing.


As to the Tarrasque? There's a feat somewhere that turns Touch spells into rays, isn't there? Planar Shift him to the Plane of Water. GG.

Frosty
2008-03-13, 05:42 PM
Well, you can't really afford a ring of Mindblank until hiiiigh levels, so before then, you'd still get screwed by Hold Person of Deep Slumber or something like that.

And hell yes, Fighters can do craptons of damage. However, that's *all* they do. Well, if you build a fighter right, you can also do battlefield control on top of that. You'll want to use a reach weapon of course.

Oslecamo
2008-03-13, 06:10 PM
As to the Tarrasque? There's a feat somewhere that turns Touch spells into rays, isn't there? Planar Shift him to the Plane of Water. GG.

You probably just killed your own caster. The tarrasque automatically negates any ray thrown at him, and there is a 30% chance it goes back to the guy who shot it.

Your optimization-fu is weack.:smallcool:

And as I said, that was something out of the top of my head.

Wanna go broken in core? Fine.

Bag of critters fighter.

Take whirlwind attack. Take greater cleave. Pick a bag full of diminutive critters. Drop it on the ground as a free action, then whirlwind attack as a full round action.

Automatically hit and kill the critters thanks to your high BAB. Get X extra attacks where X is the number of critters there was in the bag. Since you can fit, I don't know some hundreds if not thousands, let's say, ants, in a small bag, you'll get some hundred or thousand attacks.

Take a spiked chain for extra reach. There, you just dealt enough damage to 1 round KO pretty much anything, including that mountain we were talking about, if you consider the mountain a single object.

The fighter obliterated anything whitin his reach. Epic enough? Wait, he's still lv 8. The wizard still can't cast rock to mud and the fighter is already able to kill tarrasques.

As for the will saves, there is a figher only feat out there that allows the fighter, as an imediate action, to sacrifice half his BAB in return for an equal bonus in will saves. If you don't make the save with this, well, nobody will make it.

tyckspoon
2008-03-13, 06:19 PM
Your optimization-fu is weack.:smallcool:

Wanna go broken in core? Fine.

Bag of critters fighter.

Take whirlwind attack. Take greater cleave. Pick a bag full of diminutive critters. Drop it on the ground as a free action, then whirlwind attack as a full round action.


... the 3.5 version of Whirlwind Attack specifically disallows this. Yeh who live in houses of glass optimization should not throw stones!

Indon
2008-03-13, 06:20 PM
Why in God's Green Earth would you have the Punisher Class next to the Dr. Strange Class, and expect them to be in the same game?

They're in the same fictional universe, for starters. Aside from that, there are people who appreciate capability differentials, and why not have a game that can be run at multiple different power levels?

There are rules to play mortals in Exalted, after all. And in both Worlds of Darkness, though I don't know how mortals stack up in the new version.

Rutee
2008-03-13, 06:21 PM
My bad. Cleric casts Planar Shift in Melee, using Defensive Casting to avoid the AoO. And come on. "Oh no, it's water". Please. A Wizard can either cast some air breathing spell or Planar Shift back out.

And you're still proving jack **** by optimizing against someone who doesn't optimize. The bag of rats, in any case, is killed by flying 30 feet up. You can't feasibly reach the rats before they hit the ground, assuming you can let them loose as a free action, and I will be safely above the point where you can hit them and me at the same time.

And this still isn't very 'superhuman' of the fighter. I gave you Roland; Pure West, so none of this "Eastern fighters use magic" nonsense you're fond of, and he would embarrass both the wizard and the fighter at /actually cleaving/ mountains.


They're in the same fictional universe, for starters. Aside from that, there are people who appreciate capability differentials, and why not have a game that can be run at multiple different power levels?

There are rules to play mortals in Exalted, after all. And in both Worlds of Darkness, though I don't know how mortals stack up in the new version.
The comparison breaks down when you consider that Exalted blatantly says, in bold print, that anything that is not a Solar will have to work significantly harder to contribute by sheer virtue of being weaker. When has WotC made a statement along these lines previous to the production of 4th ed?

And what meleer is anywhere near a wizard, with no optimization on either's side?

Oslecamo
2008-03-13, 06:25 PM
@ Oslecamo

The thing is, the fighter will never touch the wizard in all of that.

The other thing to consider is that the fighter did that to one guy. The wizard just destroyed a bar and everyone in it.

Ah, the old argument of the wizard being uber protected.

In that case...

The barbarian also won't touch the wizard.
Nor the monk.
Or the rogue.
The warblade is also crying.
With the crusader and the swordsage sobbing.
The cleric can only pray for a swift death.
And the druid is running in circles like chicken.

Because only the sorceror, or another wizard, has any chance of touching the uber buffed paranoid wizard.

So why do people imply only with the fighter? The other classes aren't doing a much better job of reaching the wizard.

Rutee
2008-03-13, 06:28 PM
So why do people imply only with the fighter? The other classes aren't doing a much better job of reaching the wizard.
....

PHB: "And you point would be...?"
Dilbert: "Just outside your grasp"

Frosty
2008-03-13, 06:40 PM
And the druid is running in circles like chicken...

...while wildshaped into one :smalltongue:

Indon
2008-03-13, 07:10 PM
The comparison breaks down when you consider that Exalted blatantly says, in bold print, that anything that is not a Solar will have to work significantly harder to contribute by sheer virtue of being weaker. When has WotC made a statement along these lines previous to the production of 4th ed?

A fine point - but why not rate classes based on their comparative mechanical capabilities and then let everyone get what they want? You can play your Fighter-with-a-gimmick and be happy and someone else can play their Fighter(or heck, Wizard)-without-a-gimmick and they can be happy too.

Oslecamo
2008-03-13, 07:22 PM
And you're still proving jack **** by optimizing against someone who doesn't optimize. The bag of rats, in any case, is killed by flying 30 feet up. You can't feasibly reach the rats before they hit the ground, assuming you can let them loose as a free action, and I will be safely above the point where you can hit them and me at the same time.

And this still isn't very 'superhuman' of the fighter. I gave you Roland; Pure West, so none of this "Eastern fighters use magic" nonsense you're fond of, and he would embarrass both the wizard and the fighter at /actually cleaving/ mountains.

...

And what meleer is anywhere near a wizard, with no optimization on either's side?


Wait a minute, first of all, your caster is optimized.

He had prepared a silent teleport spell for the case he found himself underwater.

He took ranks in concentration, and he took spell penetration, because otherwise he hasn't really got a chance of surpassin the Tarrasque's SR.

He also bothered to dig trough the huge spell list of the player's handbook and pick save or die spells.

How is this not optimization?

An unoptimized wizard is dead meat. A newbie at D&D will look at fireball and go "omg firebabll pwnz", don't buff himself properly, don't have contigency spells and be royally screwed when his fire based mage starts to notice that high level monsters are pretty much immune against fire. And since he hasn't got defensive buffs, he gets taken down in 1 hit more commonly than not.

A wizard who runs around with buffs all time, sleeps in his own transdimensiona spaces and prepares answers against everything IS optimized.

As for Roland, since you insisted so muc, I went to wiki and found this:

According to legend the Brčche was cut by Earl Roland (a nephew of Charlemagne), using sword blows, in an attempt to destroy his sword Durendal, while attempting to escape the Saracens (in fact Basques)[citation needed] during the Battle of Roncevaux Pass.

This clearly proves he's not supernatural. His sword is.

Could he defeat armies? No, he was actually running from them.
Did he made the cut in a single blow? No, it was severals.
Did he even manage to sunder his own weapon? No.

Either he's a weakling or that is one damn good magic sword if I ever saw one.

Care to twist any more legends?

Rutee
2008-03-13, 07:46 PM
Wait a minute, first of all, your caster is optimized.
The cleric? Okay, he selected 2 feats, one spell (Which you /will/ have cast in a non-combat capacity, and almost certainly noticed the will save on) and took Concentration. You went down 2 feat trees in an attempt to 'abuse' a poorly written rule *that was errata'd* (Check your 3.5 PHB. Right now. "When you use the Whilrwind Attack Feat, you also forfeit the bonus or extra attacks granted by other feats or abilities, such as the Cleave feat, or the haste spell"

The Pounce fighter is, by /far/, the biggest offender in optimization so far. And I nearly matched him (He burrowed in about 3/4ths the time as the caster did... counting the rest period, obviously) by spamming one relevant spell 20 times.

Edit: Checked my math. 2400 repetitions to clear the 8000 cubic feet

8000/[(40/60) * 5]
At 2 rounds a repetition (Because it's a Charge), that's 4800 rounds. The heavily optimized fighter does this task 2 minutes faster then literally 0 optimization (17 minutes if we figure the Wizard has to spend 15 minutes rewriting his spell book).



How is this not optimization?
Compared to you digging through 4 or 5 books for classes and feats? I'm pretty sure I didn't do much.


An unoptimized wizard is dead meat. A newbie at D&D will look at fireball and go "omg firebabll pwnz", don't buff himself properly, don't have contigency spells and be royally screwed when his fire based mage starts to notice that high level monsters are pretty much immune against fire. And since he hasn't got defensive buffs, he gets taken down in 1 hit more commonly than not.
I could blast and probably match an unoptimized fighter. At the /one thing/ the fighter does. Then I have Non-com use too.



As for Roland, since you insisted so muc, I went to wiki and found this:

According to legend the Brčche was cut by Earl Roland (a nephew of Charlemagne), using sword blows, in an attempt to destroy his sword Durendal, while attempting to escape the Saracens (in fact Basques)[citation needed] during the Battle of Roncevaux Pass.

This clearly proves he's not supernatural. His sword is.
Actually, the First miracle of the Durandal is that it's indestructible; Not that it breaks the countryside. None of the Miracles are related to it. Second, he did it in 'a few cuts', yes?

Your fighter, assuming a nonmagical sword, would need 1900 cuts to emulate this. 1900 /seperate attacks/. Assuming it's a +5 sword... this becomes 1800 seperate attacks. Each of which is a charge. Even the level 20 caster needs 4 casts. I'm pretty sure it wasn't just the sword.



Care to twist any more legends?
Let me think here. I said he made 1 cut to make La Breche, as opposed to a few cuts.

You claimed that by shouting "I AM ZHANG FEI OF YAN! COME ALL WHO DARE FACE ME!", Zhang Fei was casting magic as DnD knows it, because the effect (Killing Xiahou Jie through sheer terror, and frightening an army of 10,000) isn't possible.

I'm pretty sure that you really don't want to level that claim.

To take things back off mechanics, you have two different arguments.

In the first, you claim that Fighters are totally nonmagical, and can never be magic, and that they should never equal wizards, because Wizards are magical, and the nonmagical can't possibly touch the magical.

In the second, you then vigorously defend fighters on a mechanical standpoint, and claim (Wrongly) that your optimized fighter is just as good as my 'optimized' (Hah) wizard.

WTF? Seriously?

Oslecamo
2008-03-13, 08:24 PM
Not nearly as much as you do, Mr. "Zhang Fei was casting a spell when he shouted I AM ZHANG FEI OF YAN! COME ALL WHO DARE FACE ME"

Talking is a free action, nuff said. Anything under reciting the entire story of your clan is fair play in a single round. And taunting the oponent is always fun.

Durendal, on the other hand, was no simple magic sword, but a major divine artifact, containing parts of saints, wich could create miracles. Anything it was used for would would be awesome. And Roland still ran away. If he could cleave mountains, why the hell didn't he cleave trought the sarracen army pursuing him? An avalanche maybe? But no, he decided to run away while trying to destroy a major artifact with his own hands. Something doesn't fit here.

There are around only 7 true feat trees in the PHB, and by true I mean longer than 2 feats.

2 of them are for ranged combat, 1 of them is for mounted combat, 1 of them is for dual wielding.

3 feat trees left for simple melee combat. One of them only gives numerical bonuses. There are no more feat trees to look around for one handed warriors
that may allow special combos. Boy that surely was hard to read.

The wizard, in the other hand, has 10 times as much pages of spells to explore than the fighter has feats.

Spells are also more complex than feats. Claiming that it's easier for the wizard to search for spell combinations than for the fighter to search for feats doesn't make any sense.

Even with splatbooks, the total number of information concerning feats is still smaller thant the spell list in the PHB. If you can't bother to read the feat chapters of the splatbooks then you surely can't read the spell list of the PHB.

That's why there is a spell compendium, but you'll never hear of a feat compendium.

And rock to mud won't help you if the obstacle you have to pass isn't rock. Earth? Metal? The bone wall of the evil emperor?

EDIT: Again another confusion.

I didn't meant to say that the optimized fighter can beat the optimized wizard.

Only another arcane fullcaster can hope to defeat the fully optimized wizard.

However, this is the wizard being too strong, and not the fighter being too weack.

If you put the fighter fighting against what he's suposed to fight, aka monsters from the MM, then he fares quite well.

You claimed that fighters were weacklings that couldn't do good damage and weren't a threat to anyone.

I showed the contrary. If you want to start a discussion "fully optimized wizard vs fully optimized fighter" so be it, but then we have to end our "fighter vs the world whitout fully optimized wizards" discussion first.

Rutee
2008-03-13, 08:32 PM
Talking is a free action, nuff said. Anything under reciting the entire story of your clan is fair play in a single round. And taunting the oponent is always fun.
You know what? That is 'nuff said'. Good morning.

horseboy
2008-03-13, 08:33 PM
Actually, the First miracle of the Durandal is that it's indestructible; Not that it breaks the countryside. None of the Miracles are related to it. Second, he did it in 'a few cuts', yes?

Your fighter, assuming a nonmagical sword, would need 1900 cuts to emulate this. 1900 /seperate attacks/. Assuming it's a +5 sword... this becomes 1800 seperate attacks. Each of which is a charge. Even the level 20 caster needs 4 casts. I'm pretty sure it wasn't just the sword.


Durindana Orlando's sword, first mentioned in the Chanson de Roland, where it is named Durendal. Boiardo says that it belonged to Hector and passed into the possession of Almonte, from whom Orlando gained it when he slew him in Aspromonte.Yes, that Hector. Durindana is powered by the Honour of the wielder. It would not break because Orlando never broke his word, even in death. Paladins are hard core like that.

Since Rutee brought him up, I'll go diving for the passage about him having a natural AC +9, wearing full plate only for show.

Rutee
2008-03-13, 08:34 PM
Out of curiosity, may I ask where you're going with that? Show him as being far and away above what Paladins are allowed to do? I seriously don't know, and my simple, harried nerves require me to identify you as being friend or foe. :smalltongue:

Also, how old is Orlando Furioso? Is it perhaps on Project Gutenberg?

It is indeed on Gutenberg. Thank you, internets.

Ascension
2008-03-13, 09:08 PM
I admit I only skimmed this thread, and it's been a while since I read The Song of Roland, but I seem to remember a good number of his companions (notably not wielding legendary swords) doing stuff like cleaving Saracens in twain with single blows. And you can't really argue that they were just fighting low-level opponents. I seem to recall one particular instance in which a guy splits a mounted armored foe in half vertically, cutting all the way through from head to groin and killing the horse he was mounted on to boot. In one blow. I dare you to build a D&D fighter that can do that.

Also, in addition to the various feats attributed to Beowulf (who again is nonmagical) early on in the thread, IIRC he was underwater for hours while hunting down and fighting Grendel's mother. No magical items or explanations involved. He was apparently just badass enough not to have to breathe.

This makes me want to homebrew a feat someday that'll give fighters the ability to go without oxygen for extended periods of time. Should be fun.

Rutee
2008-03-13, 09:14 PM
A fine point - but why not rate classes based on their comparative mechanical capabilities and then let everyone get what they want? You can play your Fighter-with-a-gimmick and be happy and someone else can play their Fighter(or heck, Wizard)-without-a-gimmick and they can be happy too.

I missed this, and I apologize. By all means. To me, it seems completely fine to rate every class on power, and say "It's about right for this level of campaign". The most glaring problem with DnD fighters is that they're 'meant' (By virtue of being in the same book, and without clarifying text to the contrary) to be in the same campaign as the wizard, while contributing equally. It'd also suit Dan. I seek to accomplish the idea of having them in the same campaign by removing limits. I'd still need to do this with ToB, but it's at least less work.. :P

horseboy
2008-03-13, 09:32 PM
Out of curiosity, may I ask where you're going with that? Show him as being far and away above what Paladins are allowed to do? I seriously don't know, and my simple, harried nerves require me to identify you as being friend or foe. :smalltongue:

Also, how old is Orlando Furioso? Is it perhaps on Project Gutenberg?
Roland/Orlando is the wellspring of the mythic ideal of the paladin. He and his cousins Bradamante and Rinaldo are, to me, what a 20th level paladin should be.

They're not sure exactly when it was publish, some time around 1516ish they think. Not sure if it's on Project Gutenberg. The ISBN # for part one is 0-14-044311-8 $17 American by penguin classics.

Oh, and just so Osle knows. Orlando DID NOT RUN AWAY! He and the other 6 peers charged an army. The other 6 died, he was dying and was going to break Durindana so it wouldn't fall into the hands of the pagans, of whom another army was advancing on their positions.

Woops, thought I hit reply before I walked away. :smallredface:

Oslecamo
2008-03-14, 04:57 AM
Oh, and just so Osle knows. Orlando DID NOT RUN AWAY! He and the other 6 peers charged an army. The other 6 died, he was dying and was going to break Durindana so it wouldn't fall into the hands of the pagans, of whom another army was advancing on their positions.

Woops, thought I hit reply before I walked away. :smallredface:

Ok, if he didn't run away, then it means he was being attacked while cleaving his personal valley.

If he had enough strenght to cleave a valley of that size while being attacked, why didn't he cleave trough the pagans army? Are pagans harder than solid rock by any chance? Was the enemy army bigger than the valley he made?


Also, if he's a paladin, then he is receiving his power from god and isn't a fighter anymore. He is a magic user.

Dan_Hemmens
2008-03-14, 05:19 AM
I missed this, and I apologize. By all means. To me, it seems completely fine to rate every class on power, and say "It's about right for this level of campaign". The most glaring problem with DnD fighters is that they're 'meant' (By virtue of being in the same book, and without clarifying text to the contrary) to be in the same campaign as the wizard, while contributing equally. It'd also suit Dan. I seek to accomplish the idea of having them in the same campaign by removing limits. I'd still need to do this with ToB, but it's at least less work.. :P

This is more or less what Ars Magica does. It says "mages are way more powerful than non-mages, so we're going to assume that everybody plays a mage."

I still don't like it actually, because I like my mages with flavour. There's nothing flavourful about Dundesh the Black, Dread Necromancer and Serafina the White, Good Witch of the South both casting the exact same spells in the exact same way.

Artemician
2008-03-14, 05:19 AM
Also, if he's a paladin, then he is receiving his power from god and isn't a fighter anymore. He is a magic user.

No. He's a fighter imbued with the power of god, but he isn't a magic user. He may be a magical being, but he doesn't use it. He. Does. Not. Cast. Spells.

Not to mention, even if he were a magic user, could that duplicate what he did? Could a Paladin split the earth with a mortal blow? Could a Cleric? The cleric can cast transmute rock to mud, of course, but that's hardly equal to splitting the earth with a sword.

Oslecamo
2008-03-14, 06:19 AM
No. He's a fighter imbued with the power of god, but he isn't a magic user. He may be a magical being, but he doesn't use it. He. Does. Not. Cast. Spells.

Not to mention, even if he were a magic user, could that duplicate what he did? Could a Paladin split the earth with a mortal blow? Could a Cleric? The cleric can cast transmute rock to mud, of course, but that's hardly equal to splitting the earth with a sword.

First he has a major artifact to help him. Not any major artifact, but a an indestructible sword with god knows how many special abilities. Major artifacts are suposed to turn even the wimpiest user in a killing machine.

Now god himself is blessing him. Not any god, THE GOD, who created everything and has no true rival.

He has more magic on him than an awakened spell.

I may point out that there are a lot of paladin spells that are only swift actions to cast, precisely to allow him to go around bashing stuff while buffing himself. Nobody would ever notice he was casting spells unless they had bothered to take points in spellcraft, wich I highly doubt. I could bother to optimize a paladin build that did this, but I don't need to, because Orlando is being buffed by god himself and has a major artifact.

Durendal:
+5 lawfull holy speed valorous adamantine longsword. Should Durendadl strike against an unatended nonmagical object it produces an shatter effect of caster level 100 afected by the enlarge and quicken metamagic feats.



The fact is, in D&D if you're being blessed by god then you're receiving some heavy bonus. Orlando didn't did what he did because he was badass. He did it because he had god in his side. He could as well be a cleric casting quickened shatter(nobody would notice) to try to destroy the sword and ended up blowing up the mountain.

Or simply cast miracle. Miracle allows anything the DM sees right. It's not my fault Orlando's DM decided that his requested miracle to destroy the sword ended up cleaving the mountain.

Jayabalard
2008-03-14, 06:59 AM
Why in God's Green Earth would you have the Punisher Class next to the Dr. Strange Class, and expect them to be in the same game?Why wouldn't you?


If the fighter archetype isn't supposed to represent mythical and fictional characters who fought, why is the wizard archetype supposed to represent mythical and fictional characters who cast spells?The wizard doesn't model all of the mythical and fictional characters who cast spells, just a particular type of spell casting archtype, and it really only models one type of magic (vancian spell casting).

This is just like the fighter; it models a particular type of warrior, not all types of warriors.

To model other mythical and fictional archtypes, you'd need to look at some of the moire specialized fighters or more specialized casters or do some sort of multi-classing. That's what all of those other classes were created for.


And the remaining two schools in ToB can be quickly adjusted to using magic potions, tools, and salves rather than being magic through sword waving, if that's what floats your boat. It is what I do when I describe it.like I said, handwaving away supernatural abilities by calling them non-magical, does not actually make them any less magical.

just to be clear, I'm not saying that the ToB classes should be non-magical, just that they should not be labeled as non-magical.

Artemician
2008-03-14, 08:31 AM
If Orlando was indeed a Cleric.. why don't we see him casting any other spells of note? He fights, fights and leads others to fight. We don't see him renowned for any "miracles of god", like any of the saints, or in fact, for any crazy supernatural abilities, beyond the creation of La Breche de Roland.

As to the nature of Durendal, it's a magic sword, no more.


As soon as King Karlamagnus came home, he called Namlun to him and told him to bring the swords which Malakin of Ivin had given him. He drew the swords from their scabbards and looked at them, and they seemed to be good. After that he went to the steel mound before his hall, and struck the first of the swords into it a hand's breadth, so that there was a little notch in it. "Certainly that is a good sword," says the king, "and I shall call it Kurt."

Then he struck in the second a hand's breadth or more, and called that Almacia, and said it was good to strike heathens with. He then struck with the third, and rent more than half the length of a man's foot; he said, "That sword shall be named Dyrumdali," and he kept that with him, for he loved it dearly.

When cutting steel, it cuts half a foot. This is consistent with a generic +1 Adamantine sword. It is not consistent with your "Divine God-weapon" intepretation.

As to the "Divine Intervention" explanation, I don't think it's a plausible explanation. Why? Because Roland wanted to destroy Durendal. If God really was on his side, he would have shattered Durendal. But that never happened. Instead, Roland had to seek out a poisoned stream and toss Durendal into it.

Morty
2008-03-14, 08:45 AM
like I said, handwaving away supernatural abilities by calling them non-magical, does not actually make them any less magical.

Because you say so? Really, all you seem to do is to say "no" without providing any weighing arguments.


just to be clear, I'm not saying that the ToB classes should be non-magical, just that they should not be labeled as non-magical.

Did you actually read any ToB manuevers? A warblade can go through 20 level without doing anything supernatural.

Rutee
2008-03-14, 09:03 AM
Why wouldn't you?
Because one sucks and is intended to be unfantastic, according to you and Oslecamo, and the other gets to be superhuman in every sense of the word? Sounds rational to me at least..



The wizard doesn't model all of the mythical and fictional characters who cast spells, just a particular type of spell casting archtype, and it really only models one type of magic (vancian spell casting).
Model != Represent. Try again.



This is just like the fighter; it models a particular type of warrior, not all types of warriors.

To model other mythical and fictional archtypes, you'd need to look at some of the moire specialized fighters or more specialized casters or do some sort of multi-classing. That's what all of those other classes were created for.
Other mythical and fictional archetypes? What mythical archetype? Fighters are patently non-fantastic, according to you. How do you model /any/ mythical archetype if you're not explicitly allowed to break reality in at least some fashion, by the rules?



I still don't like it actually, because I like my mages with flavour. There's nothing flavourful about Dundesh the Black, Dread Necromancer and Serafina the White, Good Witch of the South both casting the exact same spells in the exact same way.
Those would probably be the lower ranked types, who /do/ in fact have to find flavor because they don't get uber, cosmic power. I guess.

Indon
2008-03-14, 09:08 AM
I missed this, and I apologize.

No problem. My work here is done. AWAY! *flies*

And if Orlando isn't a good example of a fighter with clearly supernatural divine power, use Gawain. He's a knight, not a Paladin - his power stems from his virtue, not a deity.

Is being an exceptionally good person a kind of badassery? Hmm.

Rutee
2008-03-14, 09:10 AM
No problem. My work here is done. AWAY! *flies*

And if Orlando isn't a good example of a fighter with clearly supernatural divine power, use Gawain. He's a knight, not a Paladin - his power stems from his virtue, not a deity.

Is being an exceptionally good person a kind of badassery? Hmm.

Roland /did/ get his power from his virtue. That's the point. God doesn't intervene for him, even though he fights for God. He's THE Paladin; He doesn't use the version that, after considerable semantic drift, found itself in DnD's book. Seriously guys; This is why you have to divorce "The Definition DnD uses" from "The Definition myth uses".

Indon
2008-03-14, 09:23 AM
Roland /did/ get his power from his virtue. That's the point. God doesn't intervene for him, even though he fights for God. He's THE Paladin; He doesn't use the version that, after considerable semantic drift, found itself in DnD's book. Seriously guys; This is why you have to divorce "The Definition DnD uses" from "The Definition myth uses".

Yes, but isn't Gawain an earlier version, in a mythos with less monotheistic influence? That's why I mentioned him - in the Arthur mythos the concept of a holy warrior is even closer to Fighter.

Roderick_BR
2008-03-14, 10:20 AM
<Typical Ubercharger build>
Yeah, it'll work against a lot of things, even those with good DR. Then you have monsters with even more HP that'll eat you in one gulp, things on water where you can't run, and even leaping won't get you close enough, and the flying ones, and even some SOB that'll be away from you across a thorny path, or a chasm, keeping you from charging.
Then a wizard will Wall it (force, iron, you decide), then weaken it with some save-or-suck spells (from a very safe distance, proably invisible and blurred, and with cover), and then kill the creature with some non-direct damage spell.


You probably just killed your own caster. The tarrasque automatically negates any ray thrown at him, and there is a 30% chance it goes back to the guy who shot it.
Actually good point. One less item from the wizard's list of tricks. Only 34218 more to go.


<whirlwind trick>
Wait, lemme re-read it. Make one whirlwind attack, hitting everything in it. For every creature killed, you get a free attack from cleave.
Can you even hit an ant with a sword? Well, let's say small rats then, still lots of attacks.
Then you can hit... 8 creatures around. Being a fighter, you probably didn't die after being attacked around 8 times (you need to walk among a group of creatures, then in the creature's turn, they each attack you).
And that IF those 8 are close enough, and not only spreading around, hitting from far.
Reach weapon. Ok, you can hit.... lemme see... 24 enemies (more if you large). Gain, IF there is enough creatures around.
And yes, you could have enough attacks to kill nearly anything. If each attack can hit (even a good BAB will sometimes be hard to hit some very high ACs) and pass the DR (no ubercharging here).
And finally, in 3.5, you can't combine WhirlWind Attack with Cleave anymore.

And again, the wizard is not dealing damage. He's using something to render the enemie's movement, dealing stat damage, probably blinding and stunning them, taking all the time they need to kill it.

PS: I highly doubt your 8th level fighter can kill the tarrasque, unless you are using the law of average to hope to hit around 25% of those attacks.

A feat that increases a fighter's will save with half his BAB? Where? I know fighters can get Iron Will and Combat Focus(an actually useful feat) for a Will boost, but I don't know that other one.

Rutee
2008-03-14, 10:38 AM
Yes, but isn't Gawain an earlier version, in a mythos with less monotheistic influence? That's why I mentioned him - in the Arthur mythos the concept of a holy warrior is even closer to Fighter.

Perhaps. But it wouldn't stop Oslecamo from calling him a Full Caster if he did anything unpossible. It's what he's been doing the whole time.

Thinker
2008-03-14, 11:05 AM
Perhaps. But it wouldn't stop Oslecamo from calling him a Full Caster if he did anything unpossible. It's what he's been doing the whole time.

So why continue arguing with him? Its obvious at this point that no matter the argument he will not change his mind. I still contend that "mundane" fighters/barbarians/whatever can simply be lower leveled than the ones who impossible tasks.

The Rose Dragon
2008-03-14, 11:07 AM
A feat that increases a fighter's will save with half his BAB? Where? I know fighters can get Iron Will and Combat Focus(an actually useful feat) for a Will boost, but I don't know that other one.

Complete Champion. And it's not a feat, per se, but a class feature which you can trade off with a bonus feat after fighter level 8.

Frosty
2008-03-14, 11:23 AM
Mundane-ness just doesn't mesh well with the standard hgh magic world of DnD where Wizards are everywhere and hurl magics without drawback