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    Default In-universe justification for lowering power of high-tier classes.

    Some of the flavour text for Erudite got me thinking.

    The reason PCs have higher stats than normal people is because they're unique/heroic/special, right?

    Now, the talent for some classes, like Erudite, is quite rare in itself (the flavour text says so).

    Which means, it makes sense for a PC in a class like Erudite to have only average point-buy (or at least less than a normal PC), because they're already "above average" just in having that talent and hence more average stats would be the same degree of rarity.

    You could expand this to most of the Tier 1 classes.

    Wizards are rare because they're the few that can handle all sorts of magic, as opposed to the three classes that can only handle one branch (Beguiler, Dread Necromancer, and Warmage) which are more common.

    Druids are rare because hardly anyone's so much in tune with nature that they can gain that much power (as shown by their alignment requirement); the less-attuned become Wildshape Rangers.

    Clerics are rare because the gods only favour the most devout - the ones of weaker faith become Adepts.

    Archivist are rare because... divine magic doesn't lend itself well to scholarly study, and there aren't many tablets/ancient scriptures/whatever to inspire people.



    Just thought I'd put the idea out there.
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    Default Re: In-universe justification for lowering power of high-tier classes.

    that will really depend on the setting, interesting idea though.

    currently i'm playing with the idea of low level magic (level 1 and some level 2 spells being quite common) while higher level stuff (level 3 and up is insanely rare, and obvious use will generate social problems (they are in league with deamons, evil cause of disaster etc..) which in a city setting might be problematic?

    Fitz

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    Default Re: In-universe justification for lowering power of high-tier classes.

    I know it depends on the setting. The whole idea is that this is how to build a setting such that you have a very real justification for giving them less point-buy.
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    Default Re: In-universe justification for lowering power of high-tier classes.

    The problem with that, however, is that (after the low-levels at least), the strongest classes only need one high stat, while weaker classes need several good stats.
    Technically, a wizard with a point buy of 20 or less is still more or less viable. If you min/max them, they just end up with 8/8/8/18/8/8. A fighter, on the other hand, needs at least constitution and strength to be high, a decent dexterity for defence and some intelligence if they want to use maneuvers.
    "In dark times, should the stars also go out?"

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    Default Re: In-universe justification for lowering power of high-tier classes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    The problem with that, however, is that (after the low-levels at least), the strongest classes only need one high stat, while weaker classes need several good stats.
    Technically, a wizard with a point buy of 20 or less is still more or less viable. If you min/max them, they just end up with 8/8/8/18/8/8. A fighter, on the other hand, needs at least constitution and strength to be high, a decent dexterity for defence and some intelligence if they want to use maneuvers.
    'Tis true, but it can certainly help.

    You could put restrictions on point-buy as well.

    Or you could go the other way. Keep wizards at or near 25, push fighters up by a lot (since they're such a mundane class, a PC fighter gets to be REALLY awesome).
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    Default Re: In-universe justification for lowering power of high-tier classes.

    That would only help if you allowed them to go above 18 in their stats, and even then only at the lower levels: even if you can split a mountain in one hit, that doesn't help if the wizard is invisible.
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    Default Re: In-universe justification for lowering power of high-tier classes.

    The problem is that the high-tier classes tend to be prepared casters. Well, what do all prepared casters have in common? They get their powers through study.

    Joe commoner with 18 Int can pick up a book on magical theory and puzzle his way into wizardry. Heck, if he's that smart he could even work out the basics on his own, without said tome.

    There isn't much in-universe justification for smart people not being smart. The fact that wizardry is even possible means that sufficiently educated people can unlock its secrets - and once they do, they can teach others. The Theory of Relativity was very difficult to come up with, but much easier to explain to others once figured out. It's a lot easier to restrict favored souls, sorcerers etc. because you can simply say "there are no dragon-descended or celestial-favored people in my setting." But saying "only a few people can study X, no matter how many smart people there are" is a bit less realistic.

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    Default Re: In-universe justification for lowering power of high-tier classes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    That would only help if you allowed them to go above 18 in their stats, and even then only at the lower levels: even if you can split a mountain in one hit, that doesn't help if the wizard is invisible.
    It gives the wizard more incentive to buff the fighter rather than to fight by himself, though.

    I mean, I don't necessarily think balancing classes by pointbuy is good, I'm just showing a justification for it.
    Last edited by magic9mushroom; 2010-02-23 at 09:07 AM.
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    Default Re: In-universe justification for lowering power of high-tier classes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Optimystik View Post
    But saying "only a few people can study X, no matter how many smart people there are" is a bit less realistic.
    So, you simply add some more fluff on top of that.

    Like, say - becoming a wizard isn't just about studying really, really hard.

    By standard fluff to become a wizard, you need study real hard and that gives you the ability to manipulate magical energies. But, you can easily change that.

    Perhaps the ability to manipulate magical energies is not inherent in mortals.

    Maybe to become a wizard, you need to do some major rituals. Those rituals are dangerous - they will cripple your body and/or mind, thus lowering your point buy. Maybe you can skip that and instead ask for a deity or an outsider to unlock the potential within you. But they will ask for big sacrifices - like time out of your lifespan or they will want for you to inflict horrible injuries upon yourself to prove your devotion or something else altogether.

    A similar train of thought can be applied to Clerics or any divine worshippers. A deity won't give you spells unless you demonstrate your faith in an extreme manner - similar to the above. A druid might need to live ten years in the forest to attune themselves to nature's energies - making them socially crippled.

    Spontaneous casters are even easier. If you go by the above(the potential to manipulate magical energies is not inherent in human beings) then we have an easy answer. People like that are freaks of nature, something of an equivalent to people with horrible genetic defects in the real world(except with the added bonuses of being, you know, magical).

    So, Favoured Souls become maddened oracles, their minds and bodies slowly incinerated by the burning light of the Divine. Without the necessary preparation, Sorcerer's magical "muscles" are improperly formed and their arcane might destroys them from within while empowering them at the same time. Psions twist their thoughts into constructs that the human mind is not meant to handle, destroying them from within. Binders gain their power from entities that are neither alive nor dead and beyond the reach of gods themselves - their lower point buy is almost self-explanatory. And so on and so forth.

    So, in other words, add a little Cthulhu to your magic/psionics/binding/whatever and the fluff comes naturally.
    Last edited by grautry; 2010-02-23 at 10:16 AM.

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    Default Re: In-universe justification for lowering power of high-tier classes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Optimystik View Post
    The problem is that the high-tier classes tend to be prepared casters. Well, what do all prepared casters have in common? They get their powers through study.

    Joe commoner with 18 Int can pick up a book on magical theory and puzzle his way into wizardry. Heck, if he's that smart he could even work out the basics on his own, without said tome.

    There isn't much in-universe justification for smart people not being smart. The fact that wizardry is even possible means that sufficiently educated people can unlock its secrets - and once they do, they can teach others. The Theory of Relativity was very difficult to come up with, but much easier to explain to others once figured out. It's a lot easier to restrict favored souls, sorcerers etc. because you can simply say "there are no dragon-descended or celestial-favored people in my setting." But saying "only a few people can study X, no matter how many smart people there are" is a bit less realistic.
    Sure, any smart person can grasp Relativity now.

    But it's easy to see why magic wouldn't be like that. You can easily see why it could require savant-like abilities. Which are rare in RL. Very rare. And having the knack for all of the types would be even more rare.

    Making it believable.
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    Default Re: In-universe justification for lowering power of high-tier classes.

    Sure, any smart person can grasp Relativity now.

    But it's easy to see why magic wouldn't be like that. You can easily see why it could require savant-like abilities. Which are rare in RL. Very rare. And having the knack for all of the types would be even more rare.

    Making it believable.
    yeah, just say that being able to understand the concept of relatism isnt enough, the mental concentration required to work magic is closer to calculating the movement of celestrial bodies in the head, and it makes sense again.
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    Default Re: In-universe justification for lowering power of high-tier classes.

    Quote Originally Posted by lord_khaine View Post
    yeah, just say that being able to understand the concept of relatism isnt enough, the mental concentration required to work magic is closer to calculating the movement of celestrial bodies in the head, and it makes sense again.
    Precisely. Some people just "get" some things.
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    Default Re: In-universe justification for lowering power of high-tier classes.

    Faerun 3.0 seemed to go with

    "even in a high-magic country like Halruaa, only a third of the population "have the gift" and of those, only a tenth study it seriously enough to be spellcasters, the rest just have the Magical Training feat, giving them three spell-like abilities"

    So, even if you're high INT, doesn't mean you "have the gift" so to speak.
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    Default Re: In-universe justification for lowering power of high-tier classes.

    Quote Originally Posted by grautry View Post
    Perhaps the ability to manipulate magical energies is not inherent in mortals.
    But it isn't really wizardry at that point then. It's sorcery, or divine magic, by another name.

    This is the same reason Divine Mind failed. Fluff is mutable only so far.

    Now, justifying lower point buy I could see, but Joe commoner should still be able to make that sacrifice if he's smart (or perhaps foolish) enough.

    Quote Originally Posted by magic9mushroom View Post
    Sure, any smart person can grasp Relativity now.

    But it's easy to see why magic wouldn't be like that. You can easily see why it could require savant-like abilities. Which are rare in RL. Very rare. And having the knack for all of the types would be even more rare.

    Making it believable.
    I can easily see that... for sorcery, not wizardry. One of the key parts of arcane magic fluff is that the universe is built on key mathematical principles. They form the rules of magic, yet unlocking those lets you break the rules of magic. See also - Geometer, MotAO, Red Wizards etc.

    The whole point of wizards is that they can get power without having to kowtow to uber Outsiders or win the genetic lottery. If you change that, they aren't really wizards anymore.

    Now, I am in favor of the whole "to unlock true power, you must sacrifice your health/sanity etc." which results in lower point buy. But not of there being less prepared casters than spontaneous ones.

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    Faerun 3.0 seemed to go with

    "even in a high-magic country like Halruaa, only a third of the population "have the gift" and of those, only a tenth study it seriously enough to be spellcasters, the rest just have the Magical Training feat, giving them three spell-like abilities"

    So, even if you're high INT, doesn't mean you "have the gift" so to speak.
    You've made a sampling error here. Yes, few people in Halruaa are full-on Wizards... but you are using the entire country as your population, rather than the proportion of the population with high Int.

    "Having the gift" doesn't mean much if you're Int 12-14. Does it say anything about how many Halruaans are 16+?
    Last edited by Optimystik; 2010-02-23 at 10:49 AM.

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    Default Re: In-universe justification for lowering power of high-tier classes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Optimystik View Post
    I can easily see that... for sorcery, not wizardry. One of the key parts of arcane magic fluff is that the universe is built on key mathematical principles. They form the rules of magic, yet unlocking those lets you break the rules of magic. See also - Geometer, MotAO, Red Wizards etc.
    Yes, and we both know there's a difference between knowing rules and understanding them. Working out the rules for 4D polytopes is a lot easier than visualising them.

    The whole point of wizards is that they can get power without having to kowtow to uber Outsiders or win the genetic lottery. If you change that, they aren't really wizards anymore.
    I dunno, wizards as autistics sounds rather fitting to me.

    Now, I am in favor of the whole "to unlock true power, you must sacrifice your health/sanity etc." which results in lower point buy. But not of there being less prepared casters than spontaneous ones.
    What makes a weird genetic trait necessarily less common than a certain mindset?
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    Default Re: In-universe justification for lowering power of high-tier classes.

    Quote Originally Posted by magic9mushroom View Post
    Yes, and we both know there's a difference between knowing rules and understanding them. Working out the rules for 4D polytopes is a lot easier than visualising them.
    But "understanding them" isn't necessary. Being able to draw a circuit board or write code might make me better at using my computer, but I can operate one just fine without that knowledge. I only need a rudimentary idea of how a car works to drive one, etc.

    If full understanding of magic is required to be a wizard, then all wizards are Elminster.

    Quote Originally Posted by magic9mushroom View Post
    What makes a weird genetic trait necessarily less common than a certain mindset?
    Because the latter is both available at birth and available to anyone who applies themselves later, while the former is only available at birth and immutable thereafter.

    In other words, you've got

    - People who were born to be wizards
    - People who become wizards after rigorous mental development

    And then you've got

    - People who were born to be sorcerers

    It's possible that the path with just one avenue has more practitioners, but I don't think it likely. (Especially when the walkers of that path are predetermined.)

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    Default Re: In-universe justification for lowering power of high-tier classes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Optimystik View Post
    You've made a sampling error here. Yes, few people in Halruaa are full-on Wizards... but you are using the entire country as your population, rather than the proportion of the population with high Int.

    "Having the gift" doesn't mean much if you're Int 12-14. Does it say anything about how many Halruaans are 16+?
    The point I was making was that "having the gift" is separate from high Int- so you might have high Int people without the gift, and medium Int people with the gift who haven't progressed with it- getting the Magical Training feat instead, to represent this.
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    Default Re: In-universe justification for lowering power of high-tier classes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Optimystik View Post
    But "understanding them" isn't necessary. Being able to draw a circuit board or write code might make me better at using my computer, but I can operate one just fine without that knowledge. I only need a rudimentary idea of how a car works to drive one, etc.

    If full understanding of magic is required to be a wizard, then all wizards are Elminster.
    Not necessarily. There's a difference between abstract knowledge of a topic and an intuitive understanding of it. Neither needs to be absolute, but some of the latter has to be present.

    Because the latter is both available at birth and available to anyone who applies themselves later, while the former is only available at birth and immutable thereafter.

    In other words, you've got

    - People who were born to be wizards
    - People who become wizards after rigorous mental development

    And then you've got

    - People who were born to be sorcerers

    It's possible that the path with just one avenue has more practitioners, but I don't think it likely. (Especially when the walkers of that path are predetermined.)
    I'd like to see your proof that non-savants achieve similar feats to savants more regularly than do the savants themselves.
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    Default Re: In-universe justification for lowering power of high-tier classes.

    I don't actually have a problem with this...but just to play devil's advocate:

    If something is extremely powerful AND quite rare due to it's difficulty, wouldn't those few individuals who take it up be more likely to be exceptional?

    After all, if the archivist is rare because of the difficulty finding and understanding divine writings, I would expect those few archivists to be both wise, intelligent, and generally resourceful.

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    Default Re: In-universe justification for lowering power of high-tier classes.

    Quote Originally Posted by magic9mushroom View Post
    Not necessarily. There's a difference between abstract knowledge of a topic and an intuitive understanding of it. Neither needs to be absolute, but some of the latter has to be present.
    To make it function, no, it really doesn't.

    This is the whole premise behind UMD.

    Quote Originally Posted by magic9mushroom View Post
    I'd like to see your proof that non-savants achieve similar feats to savants more regularly than do the savants themselves.
    And I'd like to see yours that innate, bloodborne understanding of a system is necessary to utilize that system.
    Last edited by Optimystik; 2010-02-23 at 11:46 AM.

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    Default Re: In-universe justification for lowering power of high-tier classes.

    A wizard did it. I get the feeling I should apologize for this joke...
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    Default Re: In-universe justification for lowering power of high-tier classes.

    Just use the tier based getshalt plan.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kentma57 View Post
    A wizard did it.
    That is EXACTLY what I was going to say as soon as I read the thread title. +1 & kudos.

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    Default Re: In-universe justification for lowering power of high-tier classes.

    Here is the way I see it. Yes, anyone with some training can use generic magic, just like anyone can type. That's represented by UMD and scrolls/wands/what have you.

    However, if you want to really get down to it, without relying on others to provide the access, you have to do it yourself. Build your spellbook/computer, by yourself. Now, the parts may be available, but its up to you to have the knack of getting those parts to look like what you need. Then you can begin working on acquiring your own spells, but you have to have that knack of understanding the theory behind everything.

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    Default Re: In-universe justification for lowering power of high-tier classes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Optimystik View Post
    But it isn't really wizardry at that point then. It's sorcery, or divine magic, by another name.
    How does having to do ritual X in order to do magic conflict with the notion of wizardry? I proposed the outsider/deity deal as a sort of a short-cut - or another fluff to make you able to do magic.

    By the way of analogy, a candle has the potential to burn things. It's because of certain rules of physics that allow for it to do so. And yet, you have to actually light the candle before it can burn anything.

    Similarly, Joe the Commoner has the potential to wield wizardry. It's because there are certain principles in the structure of the universe that allow for anyone to manipulate arcane energy. But Joe the Commoner needs that initial spark of magic that will allow for him to manipulate those energies.

    This initial spark of magic can come from rituals he himself performs(that carry a heavy price), they can come from a deal with an outsider(that carries a heavy price) or from something else(which will also carry a heavy price).

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    Default Re: In-universe justification for lowering power of high-tier classes.

    Quote Originally Posted by grautry View Post
    How does having to do ritual X in order to do magic conflict with the notion of wizardry? I proposed the outsider/deity deal as a sort of a short-cut - or another fluff to make you able to do magic.
    Because in the D&D context, this isn't how arcane magic works. It's how divine magic works.

    Sorcerers get their power innately, wizards get it from study, divine casters get it from the gods. You have a few exceptions for things like Ur-priests or archivists, but those are quite well explained.

    If you jump to the conclusion that ordinary wizards are getting their powers from outsiders or dieties directly, you start messing with the basic assumptions of the system, and open quite a few cans of worms, such as explaining exactly what the difference between arcane and divine is. Yknow, if non-divine comes from the gods too, what makes something divine?

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    Default Re: In-universe justification for lowering power of high-tier classes.

    Or warlocks, who are still classed as having arcane magic, even if they aren't exactly casters.

    Then there's binders, whose magic may possible qualify as arcane for rules purposes.
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