A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #211
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    Default Re: Different RPG systems

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    I think the core of the 'wizard in the tower' fantasy for me is something like 'there's a lot of stuff out there that could be possible, and you can spend mental effort and time and study to pursue any of it or any combination of it, so your limits are limits of dedication not limits of locked-in choices or prior relationships'. D&D wizards hit that at least a bit because even if you never get another point of experience again, you can in principle go from an illusion-focused character to one who decides to become obsessed with necromancy mid-career, and that can be driven by in-character effort rather than via metagame progression mechanics.

    I suppose a more extreme version of that archetype would be a system where the ability to express magic is accessed not through any kind of build points, skills, or stats, but is purely driven by access to information and tools. Something where e.g. any random person who stumbles upon the accessories and instructions to the Ritual of Ashk-Ente could potentially manage to summon Death. But if you wanted to make a new ritual or adapt one or something like that, then that might rely on build attributes. A character might internalize some magical effects through particular rituals or preparations, and maybe those preparations would be necessary in order to safely perform large workings or use combat magic or something, but in principle you could take an untrained commoner and put them through that entire sequence and get the same result.
    I don't see any reason why "learning new things and as a result getting more versatile/powerful" should not cost build points/xp. I mean, learning languages, crafts, improving knowledge skills etc. is fundamentally the same thing and no one questions their link to build mechanics.

    The problem is more what you get xp/build points for and how in some systems that does not match with the reclusive researcher studying and getting stronger.

    That whole "getting new spells mostly outside of the levelling process" has always been one of the main problems with D&D wizards and their balancing.
    Last edited by Satinavian; 2021-08-30 at 03:06 AM.

  2. - Top - End - #212
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    There's more than one way to skin the cat. Not every in-game activity and avenue of progress needs to be reduced to the same kind of abstract math puzzle.

    I'll use language as a contrasting example, because it's perhaps the most obvious one and sees actual pedagogic use around the world: instead of using build points to up a variable to abstractly model a character's linguistic skill, a game master can present real foreign language materials to the players and have them learn the language to progress in the game. An even more common version is codebreaking where instead of rolling a die or having "Decipher Script" skill (or whatever) above N, you actually have to find the code key and apply it to decipher a message.

    In the same vein, if you wanted to have, say, runic magic in a game, you could actually design a set of runic symbols to present to your players and then leave it up to them to figure out which combination does what.

    Been there, done that.

  3. - Top - End - #213
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    I don't see any reason why "learning new things and as a result getting more versatile/powerful" should not cost build points/xp. I mean, learning languages, crafts, improving knowledge skills etc. is fundamentally the same thing and no one questions their link to build mechanics.

    The problem is more what you get xp/build points for and how in some systems that does not match with the reclusive researcher studying and getting stronger.

    That whole "getting new spells mostly outside of the levelling process" has always been one of the main problems with D&D wizards and their balancing.
    I tend to go the other way when I'm DM-ing, and give out free bonus skill advances in things which characters spend significant amounts of in-character time pursuing, independent of their XP/leveling. I also tend to think of balance over all as a bit of a sacred cow - better to be fun and have a good feel and feedback to investment of interest than to be well-balanced. Having a player be able to say 'I want my character to use this opportunity of visiting the great library to really shore up his lacking history knowledge' and get something out of that choice (as opposed to 'that just means you spend a few skill points on History next level') is worth the imbalance. So I'd rather all characters have those options and just embrace that where characters will end up will be an organic consequence of their journey, than take those options away from all characters in the name of balance.

    In general, I have a very limited view of when escalating and effort-conditional leveling systems where getting the next quantity of build resources requires more XP/higher challenges/or comes up against an ultimate ceiling such as a maximum level are appropriate. For me, the fact that someone has become a superlative warrior shouldn't stop them from picking up minimum competency at some new hobby. Modular point systems are a bit better about this, and ones where you can train skills by doing are less dissonant to me but generally have enough book-keeping or meta-game stuff that I consider it a sub-par solution.

  4. - Top - End - #214
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    Default Re: Different RPG systems

    Regarding the initial question: the Mythras system turned out to be everything I wanted in a D&D game when I was in high school: a customizable series of magic systems intentionally mean to create a diverse series of different (and thematically focused) magical traditions, an armor system that applies well to more use cases than 16th century Europe, and a levelless, flat-HP system that makes experienced characters vulnerable to ambushes or superior numbers (and therefore means that experienced archmages are less durable than soldiers out of basic training, which makes a certain sense, but wasn't reflected in D&D). That same system, in which combatants have both active and passive defenses, also allows for Link or Conan to show up, in the sense that there are use cases wherein a skilled fighter can survive front-line combat, provided they avoid the above pitfalls.

    So the system didn't so much open my eyes to new possibilities such as it opened my eyes to the fact that there were better ways of seeking what I had sought in RPGs for some time.

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    Default Re: Different RPG systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    I don't see any reason why "learning new things and as a result getting more versatile/powerful" should not cost build points/xp. I mean, learning languages, crafts, improving knowledge skills etc. is fundamentally the same thing and no one questions their link to build mechanics.
    Not true in all systems. Traveller and Call of Cthulhu do training by downtime. D&D 5e does languages and tool proficiency by downtime + money. I think Champions had it somewhere as an optional rule, mostly for gaining familiarity (8- on 3d6) instead of full skill (11-).


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  6. - Top - End - #216
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    To Anonymouswizard: D&D certainly doesn't have a monopoly on wizard crackers. I don't know what the tricks are exactly to make a magic feel flavourful, but I've definitely seen it done. Actually assembling a list of those tricks would probably be a good thread topic in its own right.
    The trick really is 'decide on flavour and have rules reinforce that flavour'. D&D did so that, but a lot of those rules differences have been diluted over the editions (and were never massively strong to begin with).

    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    I don't see any reason why "learning new things and as a result getting more versatile/powerful" should not cost build points/xp. I mean, learning languages, crafts, improving knowledge skills etc. is fundamentally the same thing and no one questions their link to build mechanics.

    The problem is more what you get xp/build points for and how in some systems that does not match with the reclusive researcher studying and getting stronger.

    That whole "getting new spells mostly outside of the levelling process" has always been one of the main problems with D&D wizards and their balancing.
    Agreed. The game gives you a way to get better (Character Points or Levels in most cases), I don't see why one archetype should be able to sidestep that. (If course, houseruling in additional Advance by Training rules that everybody can benefit from is different.)

    Games I've played which try to tie advancement to anyone tend to have a lot more bookkeeping. But there's nothing wrong with giving XP in a way that supports the wizard in the tower. The only people I know IRK who have played Ars Magica ignored the troupe play rules and decided that the wizards locked away from the world researching was more interesting than slaying dragons or engaging in politics. There was a lot of fighting over access to papers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Agreed. The game gives you a way to get better (Character Points or Levels in most cases), I don't see why one archetype should be able to sidestep that. (If course, houseruling in additional Advance by Training rules that everybody can benefit from is different.)
    Yeah, one guy getting stuff for free while another guy getting stuff at the price of XP does not sound right.

    However, they also mentioned money, which I think is a fair trade. Money is more flexible than XP but is otherwise just another tool the GM uses to pace the game and character progression.

    (Obviously a third currency would be downtime, but that'll be terribly story-specific)

    And we can also look at it another way: if the said ability is mostly a story element, thematically it's the wizard who learns it but mechanically it's just important that the party has access to it, then perhaps the ability being free is also OK?
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  8. - Top - End - #218
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    Default Re: Different RPG systems

    Not paying XP or other points for a thing is not the same as getting it for free.

  9. - Top - End - #219
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    Default Re: Different RPG systems

    Shadowrun (and 3.5) made a lot more sense once I realized that cash was a parallel XP track used for character upgrades.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Telwar View Post
    Shadowrun (and 3.5) made a lot more sense once I realized that cash was a parallel XP track used for character upgrades.
    Shadowrun presenting BP and priority systems first, leaving karmagen for splatbooks to introduce was the biggest head scratcher of multiple editions.
    Martials’ concepts don’t evolve past the mundane
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    Okay, yes, charging money for new spells is in theory equivalent to charging money for new swords. Although in experience wizards more rarely lose their spellbooks (although anybody listing equipment is rare).

    Quote Originally Posted by Telwar View Post
    Shadowrun (and 3.5) made a lot more sense once I realized that cash was a parallel XP track used for character upgrades.
    I think Shadowrun tends to be a little bit more explicit, with early editions having an explicit Nuyen to Karma exchange rate and later editions pointing out that better paid runs should give less karma.

    Many systems in fact combine the two tracks together by asking for players to pay for equipment via Character Points. I also like the idea that any kind of basic, mundane, 'this will let you avoid improvised tool penalties' items for skills that you have are something that you get off replace without cost whenever there's downtime. It certainly helps reduce the number of daggers my characters tend to carry (although they're still as hidden as ever).

    Really the problem with the wizard is that they can increase their mystical per via money, while other casters with limited spells cannot (e.g. the Bard, Sorcerer, and Warlock). I'm leaving casters who draw from their full list because too me that's a slightly different issue, but to me it doesn't feel right that the wizard can spend money and time to learn a spell but a Warlock cannot make a sacrifice to their patron in exchange for more power without leveling up
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

  12. - Top - End - #222
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    So, one reason I feel that D&D wizards and clerics wind up being so flavorless is that they were designed to be the only classes of their type.

    Wizards were the only pointy-hat-explodey casters.
    Clerics were the only armor-and-club-and-healy casters.

    But as the game grew and changed, these became less sustainable as concepts, because "I can do all magic" becomes harder when you want to get more specialized.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    So, one reason I feel that D&D wizards and clerics wind up being so flavorless is that they were designed to be the only classes of their type.

    Wizards were the only pointy-hat-explodey casters.
    Clerics were the only armor-and-club-and-healy casters.

    But as the game grew and changed, these became less sustainable as concepts, because "I can do all magic" becomes harder when you want to get more specialized.
    Yep, I always feel that the "classic" D&D classes are a mixture of obviously bottom-up ones (fighter & rogues & wizard & to a lesser extent, clerics) and obviously top-down ones (monk & druid).

    Which is why a fighter can do anything as long as it's bashing someone, and a wizard can do anything as long as it's magical, but a monk and a druid always come up with weird taboos and preferences and in-world details (such as the Druidic language and the weird selection of Monk Weapons). Which is why a nature cleric is almost a druid and an unarmed fighter is almost a monk, but not the other way around.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    So, one reason I feel that D&D wizards and clerics wind up being so flavorless is that they were designed to be the only classes of their type.

    Wizards were the only pointy-hat-explodey casters.
    Clerics were the only armor-and-club-and-healy casters.

    But as the game grew and changed, these became less sustainable as concepts, because "I can do all magic" becomes harder when you want to get more specialized.
    I think it was still fine back in 2e. It was made kind of explicit that the Cleric was the 'broad, general, I am not designing a priest just for this religion' option and that all wizards were Mages, just now or less specialised. I can't say for how long that continued for outside of the PhB, but I believe that for Mages customisation tended to be kits on top of the class while Priests varied more wildly.

    Honestly, I think 6e needs to have a look at the classes and either throw some of them out our give the Cleric and Wizard more of an Identity. The Cleric is halfway there in 5e with Domains bring as influential as they are, so you could really lean into the 'voice of their god' aspect and go the 'pick X domains route, these determine your spell list'. I'm not sure how I'd rescue the wizard, native move them more towards rituals and utility magic, play a lot of them having to work hard for what other casters get. Maybe give wizards a small set of spells they can cast quickly and then allow them to pinch other spells occasionally with the limitation that they must be cast as rituals (a more limited version of what Guild Mages can do in The Dark Eye, but not as prohibitively difficult).

    I think wizards can get get a lot of flavour of we go for more of a 'dabbler in everything' approach. Emphasise the struggle and the difficulty wizards have in working magic compared to the Cleric declaring the will of their god or the Sorcerer throwing fire with a word and a thought.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

  15. - Top - End - #225
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Agreed. The game gives you a way to get better (Character Points or Levels in most cases), I don't see why one archetype should be able to sidestep that. (If course, houseruling in additional Advance by Training rules that everybody can benefit from is different.)
    I mean, in the same post I mentioned detaching magic access from class. So everyone would be able to e.g. seek out the last copy of the Dread Apocalypse spell from the epicenter of the 100 mile wastes if they wanted to become a country-eradicating supervillain, not just the person with Wizard on their sheet. The person invested in Spellcraft skill would be the one who could alter that spell to exclude the 10ft radius around the caster.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    I mean, in the same post I mentioned detaching magic access from class. So everyone would be able to e.g. seek out the last copy of the Dread Apocalypse spell from the epicenter of the 100 mile wastes if they wanted to become a country-eradicating supervillain, not just the person with Wizard on their sheet. The person invested in Spellcraft skill would be the one who could alter that spell to exclude the 10ft radius around the caster.
    Note the use of Archetype in my post, I was specifically system agnostic. Classless systems are vastly more common in my experience anyway, meaning the person who invested in the Spellcraft(/magic/whatever) skill is the wizard by default.

    Which is the same issue with most 'give noncasters magic' attempts on D&D, they tend to run of the skills mundane characters don't have and casters do (particularly Knowledge (Arcana) and Spellcraft). Which is the problem in your example, characters who don't cast spells very rarely invest in Spellcraft or other magical skills. But that's besides the point, which was of the wizard can spend time and money to improve his magical skills than the knight should be able to spend time and money to improve his sword skills (or riding skills, or whatever).

    Now to be fair, a lot of published systems that allow casters to learn new spells generally do charge for them, it's generally along the lines of 'find the spell and then learn how to cast it'. Stone even let you use the notes you'd use to learn it to cast out, just slower and not as well (because you haven't practiced with it yet).

    But even if Jeff the Peasant can cast the Train of Flaming Chickens spell, they're unlikely to be able to make use of it.

    But as I said, I have no problem with any kind of improvement by doing/training/researching rules, as long as they don't favour one archetype. And learning a new spell is an increase in competency, so the mundanes had better be able to get some kind of increase.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

  17. - Top - End - #227
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Note the use of Archetype in my post, I was specifically system agnostic. Classless systems are vastly more common in my experience anyway, meaning the person who invested in the Spellcraft(/magic/whatever) skill is the wizard by default.

    Which is the same issue with most 'give noncasters magic' attempts on D&D, they tend to run of the skills mundane characters don't have and casters do (particularly Knowledge (Arcana) and Spellcraft). Which is the problem in your example, characters who don't cast spells very rarely invest in Spellcraft or other magical skills. But that's besides the point, which was of the wizard can spend time and money to improve his magical skills than the knight should be able to spend time and money to improve his sword skills (or riding skills, or whatever).

    Now to be fair, a lot of published systems that allow casters to learn new spells generally do charge for them, it's generally along the lines of 'find the spell and then learn how to cast it'. Stone even let you use the notes you'd use to learn it to cast out, just slower and not as well (because you haven't practiced with it yet).

    But even if Jeff the Peasant can cast the Train of Flaming Chickens spell, they're unlikely to be able to make use of it.

    But as I said, I have no problem with any kind of improvement by doing/training/researching rules, as long as they don't favour one archetype. And learning a new spell is an increase in competency, so the mundanes had better be able to get some kind of increase.
    I suppose in this view, there is no such thing as a 'mundane archetype', and it wouldn't encourage thinking of things as split between magic-based and non-magic-based characters.

    It's like, everyone can use potions, so you don't talk about making things fair for the non-potion-users. In this view, spells would just be gear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    I suppose in this view, there is no such thing as a 'mundane archetype', and it wouldn't encourage thinking of things as split between magic-based and non-magic-based characters.

    It's like, everyone can use potions, so you don't talk about making things fair for the non-potion-users. In this view, spells would just be gear.
    Witch is fair, while ice never played it the premise of Exalted has intrigued me often. It's just not the kind of game I'm used it.

    I will agree that both balance and archetype protection are generally held to be overly sacred. But I maintain that no player should be left out just because they refuse to use one particular aspect of the system.

    Of course, if said spells are as easily taken away as swords and armour my objections completely disappear. So to give it it's credit, D&D does at least still limit wizards who lose their spellbook(s), and backup spellbooks aren't relatively cheaper than other backup equipment (and until magic items cover into play are actually significantly more expensive).

    Sadly 5e also away one of the limits on purchasing spells: there's not really much else to spend your money on if using the treasure tables. In 3.X every extra spell came out of your magic items budget, the same with rituals in 4e (with a little excess to your WBL that you're meant to spend on consumables).

    High magic just isn't my natural setting for games, and I deal with it much worse than high technology. A knock spell makes me nervous where a sonic screwdriver doesn't.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Witch is fair, while ice never played it the premise of Exalted has intrigued me often. It's just not the kind of game I'm used it.

    I will agree that both balance and archetype protection are generally held to be overly sacred. But I maintain that no player should be left out just because they refuse to use one particular aspect of the system.
    I think that doesn't follow, at least not without including GM adaptation as part of the solution. What mechanism is there in D&D for a player to completely opt out of having to think about saving throws or AC or hitpoints? And even if someone says 'you know, I don't like combat, I don't want to suffer for not making my character combat-capable', then it takes some active adaptation on the part of the GM to make a game appropriate for them.
    Last edited by NichG; 2021-08-30 at 05:03 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    I think that doesn't follow, at least not without including GM adaptation as part of the solution. What mechanism is there in D&D for a player to completely opt out of having to think about saving throws or AC or hitpoints? And even if someone says 'you know, I don't like combat, I don't want to suffer for not making my character combat-capable', then it takes some active adaptation on the part of the GM to make a game appropriate for them.
    Sorry, I should have used 'subsystem'. Good catch.

    And yes, that should include combat. A player should be able to play a complete noncombatant if they wish. Although I'll admit that D&D completely fails on that count (more of I only looked D&D I might care).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Sorry, I should have used 'subsystem'. Good catch.

    And yes, that should include combat. A player should be able to play a complete noncombatant if they wish. Although I'll admit that D&D completely fails on that count (more of I only looked D&D I might care).
    I'd really put that on the GM and not the system, because if you try to do that at the system level you're left with only very generic non-specific stuff that isn't very inspiring and doesn't really create possibilities (because, if it were to create a possibility, it also has to make it so that someone rejecting that possibility is still in the same place as someone who accepts it, which sort of makes the possibility meaningless). You lose out on the possibility of instrumental goals or 'doing things in order to be able to do things', because you have to make those things achievable by someone who isn't willing to do any of the intermediary steps along the path to being able to achieve them.

    So I'd rather a system say 'here are a lot of things you could do or benefit from, and they all would let you do things that would otherwise be impossible for people who don't partake, and those are your tools for achieving your goals'. Then if someone wants to not partake of any of those options, the GM can say 'already, lets discuss what goals would be appropriate for characters under those limits'. Which might include starting a family or opening a successful cheese shop or surviving being conscripted by pirates who were too drunk to realize they got the right person, but might not at that scope include things like ruling a country or defeating a dragon or becoming a deity. But if the system is expansive like that, those goals remain possible for groups which don't e.g. have a distaste for magic.

    And if you're running a game where one person wants to become the Lord of Death and another wants to grow turnips, that's hard, but its not the kind of hard that a system can really save you from - as a group you're going to need to have a serious discussion about how those concepts go together regardless of what you're playing. But there is absurdist fiction like that, so it's surely possible, and perhaps you end up with a game where one player has only Tier 10 Spells and none of the cantrips, and keeps trying to help the other player grow turnips with tools that can't actually be dialed down to the power level appropriate for the job, while the other player has close human and community contacts and tries to teach the would-be Lord of Death to care for people again or something like that. But working with the group to craft that makes a lot more sense to me than trying to ask for a system where the turnip-grower will just happen to be balanced against the death deity because they were in the same party for the same length of time and so e.g. they have the same character level.

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    Okay, I have been phrasing it poorly. No a game system does not need to literally support everything (although GURPS does try).

    But if a character decides to focus on one subsystem, say turnip farming (or more typically food procurement if there's any related system), and not engage with another, for example spellcasting, they should not get less advancement opportunities.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
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    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Sadly 5e also away one of the limits on purchasing spells: there's not really much else to spend your money on if using the treasure tables. In 3.X every extra spell came out of your magic items budget, the same with rituals in 4e (with a little excess to your WBL that you're meant to spend on consumables).
    Except that, by default, scrolls are magic items and can't be bought except by DM fiat. There are optional rules that enable that...but with heavy doses of randomness (and very very poor availability for anything beyond about spell level 3) and time cost. The minimum time is a week to get one attempt to buy, and unless you roll really well on a Charisma (Persuasion) check, you get random items available, and the costs for higher-level scrolls are exorbitant.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    Except that, by default, scrolls are magic items and can't be bought except by DM fiat. There are optional rules that enable that...but with heavy doses of randomness (and very very poor availability for anything beyond about spell level 3) and time cost. The minimum time is a week to get one attempt to buy, and unless you roll really well on a Charisma (Persuasion) check, you get random items available, and the costs for higher-level scrolls are exorbitant.
    I mean, assuming you don't have access to a library full of grimoires. Which any wizard player with half a brain is using their Bond to justify. Doesn't help if you're travelling around a lot, But once you hit level 9 and unlock Teleport you can just pop over to it during downtime.

    Sure, opportunity and rarity are still limiting factors. But assuming you can sidestep that (which is admittedly very game dependent) then there's no real limiting factor.

    Not that 3.X wizards close to WBL couldn't get all the magic items they needed and still have a good amount to spend on spells.

    Honestly, this is starting to feel like a weird thing to argue to me, mainly because I can't decide if we should treat spells as inherent abilities off equipment. They're one thing to the wizard and a different thing to everybody else, and every single other game I've played has treated them as inherent abilities.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    I mean, assuming you don't have access to a library full of grimoires. Which any wizard player with half a brain is using their Bond to justify. Doesn't help if you're travelling around a lot, But once you hit level 9 and unlock Teleport you can just pop over to it during downtime.

    Sure, opportunity and rarity are still limiting factors. But assuming you can sidestep that (which is admittedly very game dependent) then there's no real limiting factor.

    Not that 3.X wizards close to WBL couldn't get all the magic items they needed and still have a good amount to spend on spells.

    Honestly, this is starting to feel like a weird thing to argue to me, mainly because I can't decide if we should treat spells as inherent abilities off equipment. They're one thing to the wizard and a different thing to everybody else, and every single other game I've played has treated them as inherent abilities.
    If a single spell scroll is a magic item, then a library full of grimoires available for use isn't just a regular magic item, it's an entire campaign worth of magic items. Having access to such a thing is entirely DM fiat, not anything you can expect to ever have. The number of spellbooks you find is entirely up to the DM with huge variance (ie 0 - all the spells). Most settings don't have publicly-accessible mage libraries; the default is that wizards are incredibly jealous of their spells and don't share. Which means you're having to kill people (or rob them) for their books...which critically depends on how many wizards are around. Which is 100% both setting and DM dependent.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Okay, I have been phrasing it poorly. No a game system does not need to literally support everything (although GURPS does try).

    But if a character decides to focus on one subsystem, say turnip farming (or more typically food procurement if there's any related system), and not engage with another, for example spellcasting, they should not get less advancement opportunities.
    I guess, at least for a system that's trying to capture what I enjoy about D&D wizards and progression CRPGs and things like that, that what I'd want is for the opportunities for advancement to be proportional to the number of subsystems that you choose to engage with, but perhaps what you choose to do can involve taking or not taking those opportunities. E.g. if the Lord of the Dead picks up turnip farming as a hobby, they won't lose out on opportunities to be better at turnip farming or opportunities to be better at advanced necromancy. But they might have to choose, not because of anything baked into the system but just because of how things play out, whether they're going to go to the Red Moon Transmigration where they can collect bushels of lost souls or whether they're going to grow the world's largest turnip for an annual turnip competition happening around the same time.

    And if they figure out a way to use advanced necromancy to be a better turnip farmer than the best dedicated turnip-farming-only character could be, I think that's fine too.

    Maybe another way to put it is, for the kind of game that I'd most enjoy as a player, all forms of advancement should be in-character concepts which characters can make part of their plans and intentions, and advancement would always and only happen as a result of characters pursuing it to at least some degree, not just through passive gain. There could absolutely be many different paths of advancement - earning wealth, getting political power, learning ancient lore which lets you warp reality, whatever. But I'd want characters to not be locked out of one path because they chose another, nor should characters advance on a path without actually taking actions to advance. And if some methods let someone advance more efficiently than someone using other methods, that's fine too. And if advancement isn't locked to the character who earns it but can be shared or granted, even to extreme extents, that's also something I'd enjoy playing. So e.g. if someone wants to increase their Strength by doing deadlifts for a year during downtime, that's great! If someone wants to shortcut that by experimenting on owlbears to make a mutagenic serum, that's also fine! If the second guy gives the serum to the first guy and he gets double the gains, even better!

    I try to DM things where that sort of thing is possible, but generally I find that I do need to have some passive advancement for group social dynamics reasons - for example I have players who won't do things to advance their own interests because they worry other players won't find that interesting (even if at the end of the day, that provides something for the group to do when there isn't actually a good alternative on the table without me having some external pressure force things). But if I'm describing the kind of game which best encapsulates this idea I like, it probably shouldn't have any passive advancement at all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre
    Which is 100% both setting and DM dependent.
    So, if I'm understanding correctly, you mean that D&D has no wizard magic problems if the DM basically makes the spellbook near meaningless because the wizard gets their level-up spell picks and maybe some other spell or two the DM specifically wants them to have, while at the same time parsing & interpreting the spell rules to make magic as weak and video-game-mechanical as possible. Ya?
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    If a single spell scroll is a magic item, then a library full of grimoires available for use isn't just a regular magic item, it's an entire campaign worth of magic items. Having access to such a thing is entirely DM fiat, not anything you can expect to ever have. The number of spellbooks you find is entirely up to the DM with huge variance (ie 0 - all the spells). Most settings don't have publicly-accessible mage libraries; the default is that wizards are incredibly jealous of their spells and don't share. Which means you're having to kill people (or rob them) for their books...which critically depends on how many wizards are around. Which is 100% both setting and DM dependent.
    And wizards just pop out of thin air with their starting spellbook I guess, because they never have a matter who trained them and owns a small library of magical tomes. Who they still visit every now and then for tea, and occasionally advice or to ask if they can peruse the books.

    While justifying access to every spell in the game is hard, it shouldn't be too difficult to justify access to any relatively low level spell just by being on good terms with a few wizards. If wizards really are that jealous of their magic then how did anybody convince a wizard to reach them without essentially a small fortune in rare items or materials? Convincing a wizard to let you copy a spell from their book (where they can see you) should be expensive, but it really should be possible.

    The most logical situation I can see for this not being the case, rival orders of wizards essentially competing with each other, means that a wizard in good standing should be able to access their order's library relatively easily (and a member not in good standing has bigger problems, like making sure they don't lose membership and get hunted down for possessing the order's knowledge).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Telok View Post
    So, if I'm understanding correctly, you mean that D&D has no wizard magic problems if the DM basically makes the spellbook near meaningless because the wizard gets their level-up spell picks and maybe some other spell or two the DM specifically wants them to have, while at the same time parsing & interpreting the spell rules to make magic as weak and video-game-mechanical as possible. Ya?
    You mean...ribbons are ribbons? Because that's what the 5e spellbook is. A (set of) ribbon features. They're plenty powerful with 2/level of their choice, and spell scrolls aren't exactly super rare (mostly) as treasure. But no, you don't get to cherry-pick your best spells and expect them to be handed to you on a plate, including all the ones you get for free. And then you also don't get to read magic as loosely as possible while reading non-magic as narrowly as "realistic". Sure, if you dump all the normal printed restrictions because "annoying", you have problems. That's why there are restrictions.

    If rules are rules, the rules that are printed are the ones that govern. It's a governing principle of 5e--no hidden rules. A spell's power depends exactly and only on what's written, not on what you can wheedle out of the DM by crabbed readings or badly-remembered high-school physics (that doesn't apply).

    And I'll be the first to accept the fact that the D&D wizard is, was, and always has been the worst designed class. No meaningful thematics, only power. And power that's really easy to slip outside of the bounds of what's acceptable, because they're one of the few classes that just flat gets more powerful when new books are published. Monster books? More polymorph/summon targets. Books with spells in them? Always have way more wizard spells than anyone else. Broken spells? They're all on the wizard list. Spell-list-as-only-real-class-features is horrible design in an archetype (ie class) based game. Because it's an open invitation to just cherry-picking the optimal ones without regard to archetype or theme, and "omnipotent master of the universe" doesn't exactly play well with other classes. And that's all the class fantasy wizards ever have had.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    And wizards just pop out of thin air with their starting spellbook I guess, because they never have a matter who trained them and owns a small library of magical tomes. Who they still visit every now and then for tea, and occasionally advice or to ask if they can peruse the books.

    While justifying access to every spell in the game is hard, it shouldn't be too difficult to justify access to any relatively low level spell just by being on good terms with a few wizards. If wizards really are that jealous of their magic then how did anybody convince a wizard to reach them without essentially a small fortune in rare items or materials? Convincing a wizard to let you copy a spell from their book (where they can see you) should be expensive, but it really should be possible.

    The most logical situation I can see for this not being the case, rival orders of wizards essentially competing with each other, means that a wizard in good standing should be able to access their order's library relatively easily (and a member not in good standing has bigger problems, like making sure they don't lose membership and get hunted down for possessing the order's knowledge).
    So what you're saying is that they have this hidden class feature (access to an order's library) that no one ever bothered to write down? Then a paladin has access to his entire order and can call up the troops (including clerics, etc) at will. And barbarians have their entire tribe. And monks their entire monastery. Etc. That's "power via backstory", which never flies at any reasonable table. That's like saying "I'm a noble, so I have the entire kingdom's wealth!" Or Mr Henderson.

    Your starting spellbook represents the sum of what you got from your mentor (because most wizards aren't part of grand orders necessarily). Who likely wasn't all that powerful either, and has already given you all the spells you can learn. And even if you were, a level 1 wizard is barely out of apprenticeship. Not someone who has access to the order's library at will. Other than that, you get what you earn during play. Sure, you might make friends with a wizard who might let you copy some spells as a favor (ie "quest" reward/perk of doing the work to make friends with him), but that's in play and dependent on what happens there. Not something you can or should assume. And he's going to give your buddies equivalent perks.

    Each spell learned is a magic item, and should be treated as such for loot distribution purposes. Not a hidden perk you get for taking the wizard class. No hidden rules.
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    What is a ribbon feature?

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