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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default How many of you truly believe that only spell casters are worth playing?

    Just exactly what the thread title says!

    Personally, I am going to sit back and watch.

    EDIT: I am Sorry, I forgot to post the reason I am asking.

    Do you honestly believe you can't contribute without spell casting or is it that you can't conceive of way to contribute without being able to cast spells?

    I am working up a campaign world of my very own and REALLY thinking about limiting spell casting (magic in general).

    I would really like to hear your opinions.
    Last edited by lylsyly; 2017-04-09 at 02:08 PM. Reason: sorry, forgot to post the reeason I am asking
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    Default Re: How many of you truly believe that only spell casters are worth playing?

    Would you... care to rephrase your question in a less confrontational and condescending way? Because it sure sounds like you're trying to pick a fight with us "dirty optimizers."

    Speaking personally, when I play RPGs I like to use powers creatively. I like building strong characters, and then figuring out how to apply their strengths to the situation. Because of that, I tend to enjoy characters with a wide range of mechanical options-- which, in D&D, tends to mean some sort of magic system.

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    Default Re: How many of you truly believe that only spell casters are worth playing?

    Not only spellcasters, but i like my characters to have some versatility. So mostly spellcasters, psionics, skillmonkeys and martial adepts (well, Swordsage) for me.
    I've enjoyed Wizard, Cleric and Druid as much as Bard and Psychic Rogue, so it's not purely a consideration of power. Swordsage worked well enough too, as did a Warlock.
    I also played a Binder once and it wasn't too bad, but i still felt rather limited sometimes. That one was pretty close to my... "simplicity limit", if you will.

    I like having at least a somewhat applicable solution to problems the party encounters. I can't imagine being the guy who only has "Power Attack for X" and maybe trip on 2 skill points/level with a crappy list.

    Not that standard beatsticks don't have their uses, but you can generally do comparable damage with a build that also does spellcasting or skills.
    Still, if someone wants to play a Barbarian 20 i'm not going to give them grief over it. To each their own. I'll just play something with a buffing focus if they don't measure up otherwise.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: How many of you truly believe that only spell casters are worth playing?

    1) Limiting magic is a terrible idea that makes the game worse for mundanes as well in every implementation.

    2) You can theoretically build anything to "contribute" even if it's a boring terrible way like uber charging.

    3) Some other classes can contribute in interesting and level appropriate ways, like Rogues who maximize attacks and try to get SA.

    4) Spellcasters are certainly the only fun classes to play (aside from occasionally rogues) in combat, because you make actual decisions that actually matter, instead of having your actions be so predictable that you could leave the room and everyone else could run your character exactly as you would have after playing with you for a couple sessions.

    5) Spellcasters are certainly the only fun classes to play in the part of the game where you problem solve with your abilities, because they are the ones with abilities.

    6) Any class or no class can be fun in the RP part of the game.

    7) Most non spellcasters can't keep up with CR, and most spellcasters can, so it's easier and more fun for the DM if the party is spellcasters.

    So yeah, you should probably play a spellcaster to maximize your own enjoyment and the enjoyment of others. Or make extensive modifications to something (my preference is to the non caster classes) to fix the problems.

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    Default Re: How many of you truly believe that only spell casters are worth playing?

    I don't think I've ever actually met anyone who's only played spellcasters in their gaming career. Most of us, however, tend to play at least tier 4 and above. Barbarians, rogues, and rangers have all had their place at our table, as have martial adepts of all kinds. Fighters only come in dips, and anyone trying to play a monk-like character just defaults to swordsage instead. But yeah, some concepts just can't really be accurately portrayed by spellcasters.
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    Kobold

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    Default Re: How many of you truly believe that only spell casters are worth playing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Beheld View Post
    1) Limiting magic is a terrible idea that makes the game worse for mundanes as well in every implementation.

    2) You can theoretically build anything to "contribute" even if it's a boring terrible way like uber charging.

    3) Some other classes can contribute in interesting and level appropriate ways, like Rogues who maximize attacks and try to get SA.

    4) Spellcasters are certainly the only fun classes to play (aside from occasionally rogues) in combat, because you make actual decisions that actually matter, instead of having your actions be so predictable that you could leave the room and everyone else could run your character exactly as you would have after playing with you for a couple sessions.

    5) Spellcasters are certainly the only fun classes to play in the part of the game where you problem solve with your abilities, because they are the ones with abilities.

    6) Any class or no class can be fun in the RP part of the game.

    7) Most non spellcasters can't keep up with CR, and most spellcasters can, so it's easier and more fun for the DM if the party is spellcasters.

    So yeah, you should probably play a spellcaster to maximize your own enjoyment and the enjoyment of others. Or make extensive modifications to something (my preference is to the non caster classes) to fix the problems.
    Agree with most of these points, I don't think caster are exlusively the most fun though, but classes with variable abilities (like Factotums and Initiators) fit in with the general idea.
    Quote Originally Posted by Deeds View Post
    Caster backstories require a reason as to why they can cast spells. Wizards study hard to learn spells. Sorcerers often learn of their powers and then hone them through traveling. Clerics use piety to find the gift of spells through the gods or their ideals. Druids shun deodorant until a riding dog appears and they learn Entangle.
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    Default Re: How many of you truly believe that only spell casters are worth playing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Beheld View Post
    1) Limiting magic is a terrible idea that makes the game worse for mundanes as well in every implementation.

    2) You can theoretically build anything to "contribute" even if it's a boring terrible way like uber charging.

    3) Some other classes can contribute in interesting and level appropriate ways, like Rogues who maximize attacks and try to get SA.

    4) Spellcasters are certainly the only fun classes to play (aside from occasionally rogues) in combat, because you make actual decisions that actually matter, instead of having your actions be so predictable that you could leave the room and everyone else could run your character exactly as you would have after playing with you for a couple sessions.

    5) Spellcasters are certainly the only fun classes to play in the part of the game where you problem solve with your abilities, because they are the ones with abilities.

    6) Any class or no class can be fun in the RP part of the game.

    7) Most non spellcasters can't keep up with CR, and most spellcasters can, so it's easier and more fun for the DM if the party is spellcasters.

    So yeah, you should probably play a spellcaster to maximize your own enjoyment and the enjoyment of others. Or make extensive modifications to something (my preference is to the non-caster classes) to fix the problems.
    This is so true that it hurts. Indeed spellcasters end up being the most *nuanced* characters who's decisions feel real due to the plethora of options they have.

    D&D is a GAME, which means you are supposed to win it in most cases. Which means that DM is supposed to help you win. In D&D the job of the DM is to make life difficult for you, but just so difficult so that you can beat the game and still feel challenged. That means knowing what you can do and then setting you against what you just might achieve with proper preparation. A wizard fits in with this idea so well that he automatically starts setting the tone of the game. Spellcasting classes that prepare their spells have this ability more so than non-spellcasters or spontaneous casters because they can prepare their spells to suit the scenario. It is is a common misunderstanding that Wizards are OP. They definitely are not. They can not solve all situations without proper preparations and supposed pre-optimizers like Batman are really paper tigers to a really good DM. The real beauty of their existence is that they can pull off the game-concept of D&D better than others. i.e. Given enough info about how to win from the DM they can play D&D like its supposed to.
    Last edited by logic_error; 2017-04-09 at 02:54 PM.

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    Default Re: How many of you truly believe that only spell casters are worth playing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zombulian View Post
    Agree with most of these points, I don't think caster are exlusively the most fun though, but classes with variable abilities (like Factotums and Initiators) fit in with the general idea.
    Different things matter in different areas. If a class provides choices during combat, then it's a lot more fun to play in combat, even if it isn't "viable" in terms of power.

    Obviously, it's still a huge problem for the DM if you have choices between a bunch of weak things, because they have to do a lot more work balancing encounters.

    And then of course, it doesn't matter how varied or powerful you are in combat, if it gets to the part where you need to figure out who the villain is and why they are doing it and where they are and then get to where they are, if you aren't a caster, and you are past level 9, it's time for you to just wait for someone else to solve the problems while you passively observe.

    It's not necessarily true that same classes would be the most powerful, the most interesting in combat, and the most interesting out of combat, and some other class would be the least of all of that, but it is the case in 3e D&D.
    Last edited by Beheld; 2017-04-09 at 02:54 PM.

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    Default Re: How many of you truly believe that only spell casters are worth playing?

    Quote Originally Posted by logic_error View Post
    D&D is a GAME, which means you are supposed to win it in most cases.
    For me, it's more about the story than the game. I actually like playing a lower tier because I don't want to rely on RAW to win. It's not even about winning, but playing well.

    Even a vanilla monk can make a good story, especially if your DM doesn't require that you kill every monster you come across to get XP.

    Casters are often less fun to me because they often have less complicated personalities and story arcs.
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    Default Re: How many of you truly believe that only spell casters are worth playing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pleh View Post
    Casters are often less fun to me because they often have less complicated personalities and story arcs.

    Lol no. This has nothing to do with class type. It has more to do with the player creativity. A good player builds a believable and interesting motivation. A bad player shallow and boring one.

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    Default Re: How many of you truly believe that only spell casters are worth playing?

    Personally, I like classes with options: one trick ponies get old fast. I do tend to play a lot of wizard but I'm famous (infamous) at my table for playing cleric.

    My favorite character & build I've ever played was a rogue/monk that prestiged into assassin. Given enough ACFs and skills and I'll enjoy most class builds. :P
    Last edited by Deeds; 2017-04-09 at 03:19 PM.

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    Default Re: How many of you truly believe that only spell casters are worth playing?

    Quote Originally Posted by logic_error View Post
    Lol no. This has nothing to do with class type. It has more to do with the player creativity. A good player builds a believable and interesting motivation. A bad player shallow and boring one.
    While I agree with this statement it is however so that in most heroic fantasy literature or epics (ancient Greece) that the martial classes are the true heroes of the story. I like playing casters, but I find that martials are more interesting. Note however that martials for me are at least initiators or psionic martials

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    Default Re: How many of you truly believe that only spell casters are worth playing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pleh View Post
    For me, it's more about the story than the game. I actually like playing a lower tier because I don't want to rely on RAW to win. It's not even about winning, but playing well.

    Even a vanilla monk can make a good story, especially if your DM doesn't require that you kill every monster you come across to get XP.

    Casters are often less fun to me because they often have less complicated personalities and story arcs.
    This post makes very little sense to me. What about a caster's variable abilities (and thus increased ability to push the story forward) makes them less complicated or compelling? It sounds to me that you more just have a preference for less book keeping and happen to be a good roleplayer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Manyasone View Post
    While I agree with this statement it is however so that in most heroic fantasy literature or epics (ancient Greece) that the martial classes are the true heroes of the story. I like playing casters, but I find that martials are more interesting. Note however that martials for me are at least initiators or psionic martials
    We're not talking about martials really, because as you suggest, you can make gishes that function well as variably-abled beatsticks. The real issue is pure mundanes who don't have much to do besides say "I attack him with my swoooooord."
    Last edited by Zombulian; 2017-04-09 at 03:46 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Deeds View Post
    Caster backstories require a reason as to why they can cast spells. Wizards study hard to learn spells. Sorcerers often learn of their powers and then hone them through traveling. Clerics use piety to find the gift of spells through the gods or their ideals. Druids shun deodorant until a riding dog appears and they learn Entangle.
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    Default Re: How many of you truly believe that only spell casters are worth playing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pleh View Post
    Casters are often less fun to me because they often have less complicated personalities and story arcs.
    I can sympathize with this opinion. Caster backstories require a reason as to why they can cast spells. Wizards study hard to learn spells. Sorcerers often learn of their powers and then hone them through traveling. Clerics use piety to find the gift of spells through the gods or their ideals. Druids shun deodorant until a riding dog appears and they learn Entangle.

    There's always an exception to the rule of course but my first conversation usually include, "how did you learn to abra-kadabra?"

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    Default Re: How many of you truly believe that only spell casters are worth playing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Deeds View Post
    Caster backstories require a reason as to why they can cast spells. Wizards study hard to learn spells. Sorcerers often learn of their powers and then hone them through traveling. Clerics use piety to find the gift of spells through the gods or their ideals. Druids shun deodorant until a riding dog appears and they learn Entangle.
    This made me snort involuntarily. Mind if I sig?
    Quote Originally Posted by Deeds View Post
    Caster backstories require a reason as to why they can cast spells. Wizards study hard to learn spells. Sorcerers often learn of their powers and then hone them through traveling. Clerics use piety to find the gift of spells through the gods or their ideals. Druids shun deodorant until a riding dog appears and they learn Entangle.
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    Zom, my imaginary hat is off to you. *Horns? *What horns? *It's just an unusual hairstyle.
    Quote Originally Posted by Venger View Post
    There are certain advantages to a game being as badly written as 3.5.

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    Default Re: How many of you truly believe that only spell casters are worth playing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Deeds View Post
    I can sympathize with this opinion. Caster backstories require a reason as to why they can cast spells. Wizards study hard to learn spells. Sorcerers often learn of their powers and then hone them through traveling. Clerics use piety to find the gift of spells through the gods or their ideals. Druids shun deodorant until a riding dog appears and they learn Entangle.

    There's always an exception to the rule of course but my first conversation usually include, "how did you learn to abra-kadabra?"
    And a Fighter's backstory needs to explain where they learned their sword skills, and a Rogue's why they learned how to sneak around. What's your point?

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    Default Re: How many of you truly believe that only spell casters are worth playing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zombulian View Post
    This made me snort involuntarily. Mind if I sig?
    Of course you may :P

    And a Fighter's backstory needs to explain where they learned their sword skills, and a Rogue's why they learned how to sneak around. What's your point?
    I often feel like I'm typecasting my character when I make certain characters: namely spellcasters. Classes with generic abilities like Fighter won't always need a reason as to why they're decent with a greatsword. Perhaps a simple farmer wishes for a new lifestyle and picks up the sword he found after a skirmish near his turnip farm. He heads directly into town and goes to a bar seeking adventure. That's a bit more believable than a librarian who picked up a novice conjurer's notebook and started casting spells the morning he read the book.

    Martials can suffer from being typecasted too. Samurais and Paladins live by some kind of code unless you're planning to be an ex-samurai/paladin.
    Last edited by Deeds; 2017-04-09 at 04:16 PM.

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    Default Re: How many of you truly believe that only spell casters are worth playing?

    I do. But it's not about power or optimization, it's about magic. I like it and so I only play something with at least a bit of magic.
    If I were to play a game where the only magic user option is someone who can cast only a simple spell I'd choose that.

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    Default Re: How many of you truly believe that only spell casters are worth playing?

    Most of my experience comes from Pathfinder. I find that I really prefer to have options when I play Pathfinder, though I find prepared casters to be too much of a hassle. I also don't think that one character should be able to solve every problem, while the others are forced to be melee, trapspotter and healer. (If you need a character specifically to heal the party there's probably something wrong with your playstyle.)

    A fighter gets 21 feats divided over 20 levels. (With another one if you're human. I didn't count proficiencies.)
    A wizard gets 15 feats divided over 20 levels, and a whole bunch of spell slots.
    Now sure, the Fighter would have more defense, a good chance to hit and he deals a nice amount of damage. The Wizard has versatility though, can solve problems in and out of combat and if he doesn't have the right spells prepared he can try it again next day.

    Would a "spontaneous casters only" rule be a better option? I'm playing around with Spheres of Power and that it gives your characters a little bit more flavor, while it also limits them in versatility.

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    Default Re: How many of you truly believe that only spell casters are worth playing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Deeds View Post
    Of course you may :P


    I often feel like I'm typecasting my character when I make certain characters: namely spellcasters. Classes with generic abilities like Fighter won't always need a reason as to why they're decent with a greatsword. Perhaps a simple farmer wishes for a new lifestyle and picks up the sword he found after a skirmish near his turnip farm. He heads directly into town and goes to a bar seeking adventure. That's a bit more believable than a librarian who picked up a novice conjurer's notebook and started casting spells the morning he read the book.

    Martials can suffer from being typecasted too. Samurais and Paladins live by some kind of code unless you're planning to be an ex-samurai/paladin.
    That farmer backstory doesn't fit because you haven't explained why your turnip farmer with his salvaged greatsword is skilled in the use of full plate mail, the glaive guisarm and the Longbow, martial implements that take years of dedicated training to use effectively. Since wizard is so highly defined by their spells if you replace greatsword with spellbook in your example it actually works better since there's fewer loose ends.

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    Default Re: How many of you truly believe that only spell casters are worth playing?

    I have a friend who doesn't like playing spellcasters because they require too much bookkeeping.

    I have another friend who only plays "gish" classes like Ranger & Duskblade, because they give him just enough options in combat.

    I have another friend who only plays Sorcerer/Rogues because he likes playing the sneaky blaster type.

    I usually end up playing the Cleric-Gish-Buffer because the party needs one.

    Of us all, only the "gish" player ever plays a single-class character. For me especially, D&D 3.5 is about nigh-unlimited character options. I lament over the fact that there are so many Feats that nobody gets.

    There's no need to be "Wizard 20" (or the equivalent) to enjoy D&D... or even to "compete" at high levels.

    A good DM can make the campaign suit the characters... not require the characters to suit the campaign.

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    Default Re: How many of you truly believe that only spell casters are worth playing?

    Fun, in general comes from the ability to act meaningfully. Spellcasters in general offer the most options to do so.
    They're far from the only way to do it, just the most obvious, easiest.

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    Default Re: How many of you truly believe that only spell casters are worth playing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dagroth View Post
    I have a friend who doesn't like playing spellcasters because they require too much bookkeeping.

    I have another friend who only plays "gish" classes like Ranger & Duskblade, because they give him just enough options in combat.

    I have another friend who only plays Sorcerer/Rogues because he likes playing the sneaky blaster type.

    I usually end up playing the Cleric-Gish-Buffer because the party needs one.

    Of us all, only the "gish" player ever plays a single-class character. For me especially, D&D 3.5 is about nigh-unlimited character options. I lament over the fact that there are so many Feats that nobody gets.

    There's no need to be "Wizard 20" (or the equivalent) to enjoy D&D... or even to "compete" at high levels.

    A good DM can make the campaign suit the characters... not require the characters to suit the campaign.

    Duksblade is an amazingly well-made class, so is the Psychic warrior, the former the more so. Both of them actually give you the experience of being a caster and achieve a lot of tactical results. Sadly, this only lasts till level 8 or so. From level 9 AoE effects from primary casters are SO damn effective that the single enemy damage does not scale despite being impressive. My multiple playthrough's convinced me of that. And, finally these classes pigeonhole you into becoming a one trick pony, something you yourself can get tired of very fast. Spellcasters are always doing something new. Especially, Wizards because as opposed to Clerics/Druids they can handle a LOT more variety due to the design of their spelllist.

    Finally, the comment "A good DM can make the campaign suit the characters" is actually quite true. There is always a spotlight moment that can be engineered, whether through magic items, social interactions and tailored encounters. But simply building an optimal character just makes that job all the more easy for the DM.

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    Default Re: How many of you truly believe that only spell casters are worth playing?

    I for one do not. In the group I'm in now, the fighter and the rogue are the driving force in our battles, and the cleric is mostly good for getting us into trouble.

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    Default Re: How many of you truly believe that only spell casters are worth playing?

    Quote Originally Posted by logic_error View Post
    Lol no. This has nothing to do with class type. It has more to do with the player creativity. A good player builds a believable and interesting motivation. A bad player shallow and boring one.
    That's not been my experience. Character, in a narrative sense, is derived from conflict: the dichotomy of ideals. Having more power and versatility decreases the tension the character experiences. Character tension from striving through adversity is kind of the reason I play. There's little reason to roleplay a solution when just casting a spell trivializes the situation.

    When I play full caster, it's usually a support role, such as cleric as a mostly healbot. There the conflict comes in largely assigning the party as the task. Playing a caster becomes a glorified escort mission. It's cool, but not my main thing.

    People talk about being able to do more things, but I could just play as a deity or write a novel and do whatever I want (dawn of worlds, anyone?). It's not challenging or exciting to have a character who can do things. It's exciting to see a hero who by all rights shouldn't even try, but works up the courage to give their whole self to finding a way, rather than just getting phenomenal cosmic power from the start.

    The one exception is the Warlock arc, performed well by Rumplestiltskin in Once Upon A Time. The idea of the caster who, in the desperate pursuit of that heroic goal, goes too far and is constantly plagued with the terrible price their dark arts incur. Of course, I've never seen someone willingly play that arc.
    Last edited by Pleh; 2017-04-09 at 07:27 PM.

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    Default Re: How many of you truly believe that only spell casters are worth playing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pleh View Post
    That's not been my experience.
    There. I identified the reason behind this confusion. Let's drop it now.

  27. - Top - End - #27
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    GnomePirate

    Join Date
    Feb 2016

    Default Re: How many of you truly believe that only spell casters are worth playing?

    I feel like the people in the "Casters are no fun because there's no adversity" camp either are crappy DMs or have only had crappy DMs. It's ridiculous to claim you can't have a nuanced and complicated story full of struggle just because you have more options then *Stick him with the pointy end*.

    That said, I personally prefer spell casters and some of the more option prone melee builds like wild shape ranger into MoMF or Gishes. It's nice to not have to take a back seat whenever something other then combat happens.

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Banned
     
    RedWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Dec 2015

    Default Re: How many of you truly believe that only spell casters are worth playing?

    Jumping in quickly to say a couple of things:

    It's not that I think casters are better than martials in abstract terms. There are plenty of cool heroes who use swords, but there are certain categories of abilities that I think are important for a good experience in cooperative story telling, and in D&D they show up on casters with a disturbing level of exclusivity.

    If you think you can't tell a compelling story about casters, you need to expand your reading list. The various Dragaera novels are about a setting where most people walk in with the ability to teleport, and they work fine. Similarly with Mistborn, Lord of Light, or The Chronicles of Amber. Almost all the complaints I see being voiced about casters sound to me like they come from a place of lacking initiative of imagination.

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Knaight's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2008

    Default Re: How many of you truly believe that only spell casters are worth playing?

    Quote Originally Posted by ghostshadow View Post
    Do you honestly believe you can't contribute without spell casting or is it that you can't conceive of way to contribute without being able to cast spells?
    The title and the question here are two different questions. Are martial characters overshadowed to the point where casters are just better? Yes. Are they totally unable to contribute? No. Are they worth playing? It depends on what you value. I don't like D&D's magic system, favor fantasy that is borderline historical fiction, and am generally in a position to contribute with a worse character in any group I'm likely to be in. Noncasters are fine by me and I play them pretty close to exclusively.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

    I'm not joking one bit. I would buy the hell out of that.
    -- ChubbyRain

    Current Design Project: Legacy, a game of masters and apprentices for two players and a GM.

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Mar 2008

    Default Re: How many of you truly believe that only spell casters are worth playing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Beheld View Post
    1) Limiting magic is a terrible idea that makes the game worse for mundanes as well in every implementation.

    2) You can theoretically build anything to "contribute" even if it's a boring terrible way like uber charging.

    3) Some other classes can contribute in interesting and level appropriate ways, like Rogues who maximize attacks and try to get SA.

    4) Spellcasters are certainly the only fun classes to play (aside from occasionally rogues) in combat, because you make actual decisions that actually matter, instead of having your actions be so predictable that you could leave the room and everyone else could run your character exactly as you would have after playing with you for a couple sessions.

    5) Spellcasters are certainly the only fun classes to play in the part of the game where you problem solve with your abilities, because they are the ones with abilities.

    6) Any class or no class can be fun in the RP part of the game.

    7) Most non spellcasters can't keep up with CR, and most spellcasters can, so it's easier and more fun for the DM if the party is spellcasters.

    So yeah, you should probably play a spellcaster to maximize your own enjoyment and the enjoyment of others. Or make extensive modifications to something (my preference is to the non caster classes) to fix the problems.
    I just wanted to say that I mostly agree with the points listed here, though I exclusively use the Spheres of Power magic system to help reduce the martial/caster disparity.

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