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Mark Hall
2008-07-07, 10:14 PM
What is the objective difference between Divine, Martial, and Arcane in 4e?

If we made a Warlock a Divine Striker (since those he creates pacts with could be called gods), what does that objectively change in the system? If we decided that a Fighter achieved his ends by drawing on magical disciplines, which is why he was so much more BA than a normal soldier, how does his change from Martial to Arcane affect the crunch of the game?

CockroachTeaParty
2008-07-07, 10:18 PM
My gut reaction tells me that it really only affects flavor. Off the top of my head I can't think of anything mechanically that would be changed... Perhaps for things such as Dispel Magic or an effect similar to an Antimagic Field, but otherwise I can't think of any real reason why certain things couldn't be changed from martial to arcane, or arcane to divine, etc.

The New Bruceski
2008-07-07, 10:23 PM
Currently power source is just flavor. I haven't seen it first hand (busy understanding Core with my gaming group), but I heard there's an item from the Artificer info that can recharge its daily by expending an arcane power. For things of that sort it would matter.

Short version: doesn't matter now, might matter later.

RTGoodman
2008-07-07, 10:25 PM
There's not a huge mechanical difference, but each seems to sort of have "themes." Arcane has a lot of elemental stuff, Divine deals with Radiant (or Necrotic) damage, and Martial is all the non-magical stuff (and often have the Weapon keyword, though other sources also use that).

LoopyZebra
2008-07-07, 10:27 PM
Their powers would be called different. Divine powers are prayers, arcane powers are spells, and martial powers are exploits.

And while not a mechanical difference, the power sources have some similarity between classes in them. The paladin and cleric, for example, have a tendency to use radiant (or necrotic) powers, and to buff and heal their allies. A divine striker, built from the ground up, might shoot beams of holy light (ala LAZER CLERIC) or add radiant damage to his sword swings.

Likewise, arcane classes are unified in their use of magic; rarely do their powers do normal damage. They deal "exotic" forms of damage with an implement. Their powers tend to have effects which alter the battlefield in means difficult or impossible to achieve by non magic users.

Martial, on the other hand, represents skill. They don't change the battlefield, or deal special types of damage, they go up and hit something and hit it hard. They master the battlefield, not bend it to their will, like arcane, or aid their side, like divine.

But, arguably, these are things classes in these power sources TEND to do. There's no absolute mechanical difference, or requirement (holy light must be Divine!). It's just that power sources have a unifying theme, or set of things that are it's schtick, much like class roles. Sure, Defenders might not have to have a tanking/marking ability, but they all do. Sure, Divine people might not have to shoot LAZERS, but they all do.

This means that the primary reason to NOT put the fighter as arcane, or the warlock as divine, is because he wouldn't fit in mechanically. (Ignoring fluff considerations.) If the fighter shot bursts of fire out his arse and lightning out his eyes, he would be arcane. As it is, his fighting style is in-line with a 4E interpretation of the Martial power source. (Same is true of the suggested divine warlock.)

Crow
2008-07-07, 10:28 PM
I think it's more of something the designers use to make sure the flavor of a class always matches up with it's abilities.

"I'll name this power "Arcane Surge". Oh wait, this class uses the martial power source...I'll name this power "Martial Surge"."

But seriously, I have no idea what the power source is for.

Colmarr
2008-07-07, 11:25 PM
I heard there's an item from the Artificer info that can recharge its daily by expending an arcane power. For things of that sort it would matter.

Short version: doesn't matter now, might matter later.

This.

It's a sure bet that sooner or later power sources will become relevant mechanically and the artificer ability is (unless I miss my guess) the tip of that particular iceberg.

Vikingkingq
2008-07-07, 11:37 PM
What is the objective difference between Divine, Martial, and Arcane in 4e?

If we made a Warlock a Divine Striker (since those he creates pacts with could be called gods), what does that objectively change in the system? If we decided that a Fighter achieved his ends by drawing on magical disciplines, which is why he was so much more BA than a normal soldier, how does his change from Martial to Arcane affect the crunch of the game?

Crunch-wise, doesn't change anything.

But thematically, cinematically, conceptually it would change everything. A Warlock being Divine means that all Warlocks have a divine patron - which means that we have to explain how all Warlocks can gain the abilities they gain from different patrons. Why would a sun god give the ability to vanish into the shadows? Why would a god of healing give the ability to curse? etc.

Likewise, a fighter relying on magic - where did he train it? How? How was he able to learn magic and learn to wield a sword, wear armor, etc. when wizards who spend their whole lives learning magic don't know how to do those things?

TheOOB
2008-07-07, 11:41 PM
In the future, as more power sources are released, I'm sure there will be some rules baggage (effects, powers, or rituals that affect different sources, feats and PPs that can only be taken by different sources, ect).

That said, power source is a fairly arbitrary trait that represents more flavor then anything else.

Orzel
2008-07-08, 02:16 AM
The 3 known power sources have these attributes outside of fluff:
Martial is based on weapons and "skills" and has it's powers organize by weapon group or skill. Martial also gain stances.

Divine favors the fire, thunder, and radiant damage types. The known classes also gain Channel Divinity and have many healing powers. They also use holy implements. The 2 classes known have both weapon and "dice" powers.

The Arcane classes favor using all damage types. They also are wand users which grant them an additional encounter power.

So a Divine Warlock would lose wands and their pact boon and gain a Channel Divinity and [W] powers.

Kurald Galain
2008-07-08, 03:59 AM
I found it surprising that there really doesn't seem to be any difference between the power sources. It would make zero difference if WOTC had said that warlords are arcane, or paladins are martial.

Based on that, I wonder if there'll be any point to the five or six additional power sources they will be publishing. I mean, of course the associated classes are going to be interesting, but why should anybody care whether the upcoming sorcerer is tagged elemental, or shadow, or arcane, or even psionic?

Mando Knight
2008-07-08, 05:42 AM
It would make zero difference if WOTC had said that warlords are arcane, or paladins are martial.

Ah... maybe 50% of the Paladin powers use Implements and don't involve weapons, rather radiant damage from the divine source. How would an attack like "To the Nine Hells With You" work with the Martial source's Charles Atlas Superpowers (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CharlesAtlasSuperpower)?

Kurald Galain
2008-07-08, 06:44 AM
Ah... maybe 50% of the Paladin powers use Implements and don't involve weapons, rather radiant damage from the divine source. How would an attack like "To the Nine Hells With You" work with the Martial source's Charles Atlas Superpowers (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CharlesAtlasSuperpower)?

It's a simple refluff job. I mean, clerics shoot frickin' laser beams already, how hard can it be? :smallbiggrin:

Tengu
2008-07-08, 07:07 AM
Ah... maybe 50% of the Paladin powers use Implements and don't involve weapons, rather radiant damage from the divine source. How would an attack like "To the Nine Hells With You" work with the Martial source's Charles Atlas Superpowers (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CharlesAtlasSuperpower)?

Spiral Energy.

Jarlax
2008-07-08, 09:30 AM
What is the objective difference between Divine, Martial, and Arcane in 4e?

If we made a Warlock a Divine Striker (since those he creates pacts with could be called gods), what does that objectively change in the system? If we decided that a Fighter achieved his ends by drawing on magical disciplines, which is why he was so much more BA than a normal soldier, how does his change from Martial to Arcane affect the crunch of the game?

i am going with nothing.......yet...........

however at least as soon as the FR setting book we will definitely begin to see power sources being important. with the introduction of zones of spellplauge which would obviously only affect arcane power sources. also of the forgotten realms carries over some of its baggage then dead or wild magic zones may remain a threat to any who draw from arcane power sources.

antimagic fields and the like may return as rituals in the magic splatbook when it finally comes out too.

we have a magic fighter coming. the swordmage (arcane defender) will be in the players guide to forgotten realms who actually does draw from an arcane source and is a very differant style defender compared to the fighter (martial defender) or paladin (divine defender)

Indon
2008-07-08, 09:34 AM
I found it surprising that there really doesn't seem to be any difference between the power sources. It would make zero difference if WOTC had said that warlords are arcane, or paladins are martial.
People would have complained more.


Based on that, I wonder if there'll be any point to the five or six additional power sources they will be publishing. I mean, of course the associated classes are going to be interesting, but why should anybody care whether the upcoming sorcerer is tagged elemental, or shadow, or arcane, or even psionic?

Well, as others said, it does seem likely there'll be power-source related mechanics eventually. Just not now.

BobTheDog
2008-07-08, 10:37 AM
The only mechanical difference I can remember off the top of my head are Wands. There's the "if you can cast arcane Spells, you can use a wand's power" tidbit.

JaxGaret
2008-07-08, 11:26 PM
Arcane classes use a myriad of Implements, Divine classes use Holy Symbols for Implements and so far all have the Channel Divinity class feature, and Clerics do not shoot laser beams unless you flavor them that way.

Charity
2008-07-09, 02:13 AM
Well there is the one feat arcane reach, but essentially it is a fluff distinction.

Kurald Galain
2008-07-09, 02:52 AM
Arcane classes use a myriad of Implements, Divine classes use Holy Symbols for Implements and so far all have the Channel Divinity class feature, and Clerics do not shoot laser beams unless you flavor them that way.

:smallbiggrin: Clearly you haven't seen the term "laser cleric", then, which has been all over the internet since 4E's release...

Aquillion
2008-07-09, 08:11 AM
There are a handful of things that care if you look closely -- mostly, it seems like it's used for "specific case" powers, feats, items, and so on. I suspect a lot of this is for forwards compatability, but there are a few things in the 4.0 PHB...

The Archmage "Shape Magic" power lets you regain one arcane power you have already used. A Wizard who got some Warlock powers could use it to get back Warlock powers, but one with a few Fighter or Cleric powers couldn't get back those.

The Arcane Reach feat works with any Arcane power (and only arcane powers.)

Also, knowledge skills can only provide you with information about things that relate to that skill. In that respect, it's easy to see how dividing things up clearly into divine and arcane is important (although why isn't there a knowledge: martial?" It would make sense for a seasoned warrior to recognize the strange combat arts of the east or whatever, when nobody else in the party would.)

It will probably matter more as more classes are introduced, too. Right now, it's sort of pointless to say that something is for "Arcane" characters when you could just specify one of the two arcane classes... but as dozens of splatbooks start being introduced, I'll bet they'll refer to power sources instead of classes a lot more often, in the same way that 3.5 PRCs and feats generally avoided naming specific class levels as prequisites (so they'd remain compatable with all the various PRCs, even ones not written yet.) I'll bet future Epic Destinies in particular are going to care a great deal about your power source.

JaxGaret
2008-07-09, 09:48 AM
:smallbiggrin: Clearly you haven't seen the term "laser cleric", then, which has been all over the internet since 4E's release...

I have seen the term laser cleric, many, many times, usually used by 4e bashers. It's disingenuous; Clerics have lots of powers that deal Radiant damage, not Laser damage. If someone wants to flavor their Cleric as a Lazor Cleric in their games, go right ahead, more power to them - but that has no bearing on the class itself.

wodan46
2008-07-09, 10:25 AM
Personally, I think the Star Pact Warlock is the real lazer master. His Level 29 daily calls down an orbital laser on his enemies, and most of his other abilities have similar space lazer themes.

Oracle_Hunter
2008-07-09, 11:28 AM
Re: OP

I just realized a major difference between Divine and the others: because you worship a god to get your powers, your alignment is restricted by your deity choice. Also, no other power source gets "Channel Divinity" nor access to the Divine Feats.

So, if you wanted to flavor some other class as Divine, you'd have to take that into account (say, the Divine Warlock - what is the alignment of Cthulhu?)

wodan46
2008-07-09, 11:35 AM
Cthulu exists above your pathetic little alignment system.

Roderick_BR
2008-07-09, 12:12 PM
It's the same difference between arcane and divine magic in older editions:
Mechanically, there's none. It's there only to say what you are using.
In the end, you are activating an ability to get an effect.
It's like using a longsword or a battleaxe in 3.5: The only difference is one part of it (the critical hit rules), in the same way that the diference between a fireball (wizard) or a flame strike (druid) spells are a few dice of damage.

As it was pointed out, it's more about theme. Something that empowers ally: divine. Something that weakens foes: arcane. Something that empowers makes you hard to hit/makes you hit harder: martial.
There are examples, like warlords using martial to enhance allies, and paladins using divine to enhance himself, but that's mostly that.

Artanis
2008-07-09, 01:03 PM
I can't think of a real, inherent mechanical difference between any of the three. The closest I can think of is that at the moment, there are different types of arcane implements (wand/orb/etc.) and only one type of divine implement (holy symbol). This means that an arcane class could, in theory, have different options depending on which implement is used (like the Wizard's specialization class feature), but a divine class could not.

...yet, at any rate. In theory, a new book could easily make more "types" of holy symbols and classes that take advantage of such. But for the moment, that's the only difference I can think of.

Hatu
2008-07-09, 01:21 PM
So, if you wanted to flavor some other class as Divine, you'd have to take that into account (say, the Divine Warlock - what is the alignment of Cthulhu?)

I believe it will cost you a d6 of sanity to find out...

As far as a mechanical effect to power sources, there doesn't seem to be one. As far as I can tell, Divine classes seem to get a Channel Divinity power, and Martial classes don't get any impliments. That's about it, and even those might rules might be muddied a bit by future releases.

-H

hamishspence
2008-07-09, 02:01 PM
Chaotic evil, as is Azathoth, if you go with d20 Cthulhu. In fact the Great Old Ones, Outer Gods, etc are the only monsters in d20 Cthulhu with alignments. Maybe they have a point.

Yakk
2008-07-09, 04:43 PM
Currently?

Divine: Every divine class so far has Channel Divinity. (and feats that work with it)

Martial: Mainly uses Weapons, never uses Implements.

Arcane: Uses non-holy symbol Implements. A number of feats only work with it. Can use Wand Daily powers, and their Daily powers can be put into Wands.

Aquillion
2008-07-09, 10:27 PM
I have seen the term laser cleric, many, many times, usually used by 4e bashers. It's disingenuous; Clerics have lots of powers that deal Radiant damage, not Laser damage. If someone wants to flavor their Cleric as a Lazor Cleric in their games, go right ahead, more power to them - but that has no bearing on the class itself.

...

...

<.<

>.>




Behold the new Cleric iconic!

http://img150.imageshack.us/img150/8709/jozanlazorrc4.jpg

IMMA FIRIN MAH LAZOR 3D6 RADIANT DAMAGE!

Oracle_Hunter
2008-07-09, 10:44 PM
http://img150.imageshack.us/img150/8709/jozanlazorrc4.jpg

MAH LAZOR RADIANT DAMAGE
Imma chargin it for Palor

You sir, win. :smallbiggrin:

Ever since I first heard of the Lazor Cleric (the only proper spelling, BTW), I had been thinking of this very thing. Should I run a Lazor Cleric, I will use the line "I'm chargin' mah Lazor" whenever I ready a lazor-action :smalltongue:

Grynning
2008-07-09, 11:11 PM
Pelor teaches us to Shoop da Whoop.

Anyways, I don't see what's wrong with having the power source labels be pure flavor. It helps newer players have a better handle on what their powers do and their characters origin, and the old players know that it doesn't really matter anyways.

I think it might also be a useful tool for the designers...hey, we need to publish some more classes...alright, which Sources/Roles have we not done yet? Martial Controller? Psionic Defender? Alright, make those.

bosssmiley
2008-07-10, 05:37 AM
Martial power source = Flex Mentallo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flex_Mentallo) :smallbiggrin: