Let's have a better magic system(than D&D's "Fire & Forget")

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Let's have a better magic system(than D&D's "Fire & Forget")

Postby SkeleTony » Tue Oct 06, 2009 1:09 pm

There is no reason to keep using the silly Vancian "Fire and Forget" system for spell casting. Even D&D's creators adn designers thought the system was poor from very early on(since the RuneQuest pen and paper RPG came out in 1977 or so.). They wanted to eliminate this system and replace it with a 'spell point' system for SECOND edition and announced such within the pages of Dragon magazine but then were forced to re-neg on this fearing boycotts from teenagers who protested ANY significant change, regardless of how much better it might be).

The reasoning behind this is simple; D&D's quasi-Vancian system does not reflect magic in the Heroic Fantasy genre. Not including the terrible Dragonlance and much worse "Forgotten Realms" books(which were inextricably tied to D&D's game mechanics) when have you EVER read a heroic fantasy novel or story(aside from Vance's Sci-fi/fantasy book which was meant to be SPOOFING certain fantasy conventions) where a mage sais "I would love to help out here with a fireball or something guys but I cast that spell an hour ago and it immediately left my memory when I did that...". I often compare it to going to a poetry recital and seeing someone take the stage to apologize because he was GOING to recite Frost's "The Road Not Taken" but accidentally recited it to a girl on the bus on the way over and so now had no more 'memorizations' left.

It is just nonsense. That is why D&D online refused to use the system and why every new edition of D&D(pen and paper) is always announced with the promise they are going to replace this system with a more sensible system only to have to take it back when a bunch of kids who know nothing about game design or what they might like start protesting(this happened with 4th edition as well).

I realize that to D&D fans who are not familiar with other systems and ways of doing things, there is some comfort in the familiarity of the 'Fire & Forget' system but it is just not good. Unnecessarily complicated to say the least.
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Let's have a better magic system(than D&D's "Fire & Forget")

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Re: Let's have a better magic system(than D&D's "Fire & Forget")

Postby Archangel » Tue Oct 06, 2009 1:27 pm

Personally I find it different and unique. Also it brings a dose of resource management into a tactical combat simulation better then just crossing of Spell Points.
I am actually happy to play D&D because of this different system. Also that is why I refuse to play 4e (in addition to other really bad design decisions).

Only system I found similarly fun and different is the Star Wars Saga Edition one.
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Re: Let's have a better magic system(than D&D's "Fire & Forget")

Postby VentilatorOfDoom » Tue Oct 06, 2009 3:26 pm

I think mana or spell point based systems tend to suck even more. Either you have just too few mana, so after casting 3 spells your mage is completely useless in combat, or you have plenty of mana when it really get's overpowering. Or it's like in Wiz8 where you have enough mana after some levels, but the spells are so weak it's yawn inducing. Sorry but I prefer it as it is.
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Re: Let's have a better magic system(than D&D's "Fire & Forget")

Postby Archangel » Tue Oct 06, 2009 4:09 pm

Well, KotC 2 is supposed to have Psions. If Psions will use Power Points of a similar casting system like KotC remains to be seen.
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Re: Let's have a better magic system(than D&D's "Fire & Forget")

Postby SkeleTony » Tue Oct 06, 2009 11:57 pm

Archangel wrote:Personally I find it different and unique. Also it brings a dose of resource management into a tactical combat simulation better then just crossing of Spell Points.
I am actually happy to play D&D because of this different system. Also that is why I refuse to play 4e (in addition to other really bad design decisions).

Only system I found similarly fun and different is the Star Wars Saga Edition one.



A system where Charisma is the primary determinant of melee damage and the ability to "lift gates/bend bars" is "different and unique". And such systems may indeed be the best thing for a specific someone to create their own "unique" campaign world. I am not objecting to that. But D&D was supposed to be a GENERIC fantasy RPG from at least as early as AD&D. One that could entail a wide range of fantasy settings. From Lankmahr to dark Sun to Elric(if you believe the early (A)D&D sources) to Conan!

I think you are one of those who was first introduced to RPGing through D&D and you seemingly do not understand the point I am making.

Go back and read some Heroic Fantasy fiction(not the freaking AD&D based books...Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance and crap. That does not count for obvious reasons). Notice anything? Those are basically spell-point systems. Every single one of them almost. The Vancian "fire & forget" system not only does not reflect the genre that D&D attempts to reflect but it is also just plain nonsensical(I noticed no one addressed THAT point I made...). A spell point system does everything that the fire and forget syste4m does PLUS a lot more and a lot better! It just makes no sense for casters to be forgetting specific spells they memorize or having to have a specific quantity of 'memorizations'.
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Re: Let's have a better magic system(than D&D's "Fire & Forget")

Postby SkeleTony » Wed Oct 07, 2009 12:04 am

VentilatorOfDoom wrote:I think mana or spell point based systems tend to suck even more. Either you have just too few mana, so after casting 3 spells your mage is completely useless in combat, or you have plenty of mana when it really get's overpowering. Or it's like in Wiz8 where you have enough mana after some levels, but the spells are so weak it's yawn inducing. Sorry but I prefer it as it is.



This contention does not make any sense. I have never encountered such a spell point system where you are able to cast LESS spells than AD&D allows for similar "levels'. Pretty much even in BAD RPGs a starting mage can cast just as many spells as an AD&D counterpart(usually MORE) and the only difference is in the mechanics themselves and how they reflect the genre. A well designed RPG does not suffer the problem of "overpowerin" regardless of the nsystem used so any games you played where you felt "overpowered" were the fault of lackluster play-testing.

Wizardry 8 did have a problem with direct damage spells being weaker than the other spells but other than that it worked better than 99% of the CRPGs released.


You might want to seriously ask yourself WHY you "prefer it as it is". Because if it is simply that AD&D is what you are familiar with and it has given you an inaccurate sense of what Heroic Fantasy as a genre is all about(i.e. you cannot come up with a cogent argument for NOT using a better system) then your contention is rooted in nostalgia/familiarity and not rationality.
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Re: Let's have a better magic system(than D&D's "Fire & Forget")

Postby Archangel » Wed Oct 07, 2009 9:13 am

SkeleTony wrote:A system where Charisma is the primary determinant of melee damage and the ability to "lift gates/bend bars" is "different and unique". And such systems may indeed be the best thing for a specific someone to create their own "unique" campaign world. I am not objecting to that. But D&D was supposed to be a GENERIC fantasy RPG from at least as early as AD&D. One that could entail a wide range of fantasy settings. From Lankmahr to dark Sun to Elric(if you believe the early (A)D&D sources) to Conan!

1st of all, there is no more lift gates/bend bars in D&D, that was abandoned ages ago :)
And D&D is pretty generic, or there would not be D20 Modern, D20 Future and all the other systems that came out of D&D. Also the additional books for 3rd edition offered Spell Points spellcasting as well as XPH (Expanded Psionics Handbook) that gave a spellpoint spellcaster.
I do not see your complaint. It is more generic then Storyteller for instance, but not GURPS. GURPS has its own problems which make D&D still the worlds no1 roleplaying game.

SkeleTony wrote:I think you are one of those who was first introduced to RPGing through D&D and you seemingly do not understand the point I am making.

Yes I was, through AD&D. But I tried many different systems since (some that were never published) and I still find D&D spellcasting one of the more fun and unique. As I said Star Wars Saga Edition has a great spellcasting system which i similar to D&D but with more freedom and less constraints. Arcana Evolved is another fun D&D-like spellcasting system. Check them both out.

SkeleTony wrote:Go back and read some Heroic Fantasy fiction(not the freaking AD&D based books...Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance and crap. That does not count for obvious reasons). Notice anything? Those are basically spell-point systems. Every single one of them almost. The Vancian "fire & forget" system not only does not reflect the genre that D&D attempts to reflect but it is also just plain nonsensical(I noticed no one addressed THAT point I made...). A spell point system does everything that the fire and forget syste4m does PLUS a lot more and a lot better! It just makes no sense for casters to be forgetting specific spells they memorize or having to have a specific quantity of 'memorizations'.

So what if those books are not vancian? I do not play PnP to recreate books, I like to tell my own story. And I find D&D spellcasting nicer for that then others.
And I really have no idea why are you using words like "sense" for fantasy? To us in the real world all magic systems make no sense, and are impossible as magic has not been proven to exist in the real world, and we certainly do not know how it would work.
So, just chill and play the fantasy game that suits you instead of attacking the ones that do not. Thankfully there are many different systems out there for all kinds of players and their preferences.

What you are doing is the same like saying all movies should be action flicks and everyone should like them and watch them. Thanks but no thanks.
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Re: Let's have a better magic system(than D&D's "Fire & Forget")

Postby SkeleTony » Wed Oct 07, 2009 10:28 am

Archangel wrote:
SkeleTony wrote:A system where Charisma is the primary determinant of melee damage and the ability to "lift gates/bend bars" is "different and unique". And such systems may indeed be the best thing for a specific someone to create their own "unique" campaign world. I am not objecting to that. But D&D was supposed to be a GENERIC fantasy RPG from at least as early as AD&D. One that could entail a wide range of fantasy settings. From Lankmahr to dark Sun to Elric(if you believe the early (A)D&D sources) to Conan!

1st of all, there is no more lift gates/bend bars in D&D, that was abandoned ages ago :)



I know that. How is this relevant to the point I made? You seem to be dodging here...



And D&D is pretty generic, or there would not be D20 Modern, D20 Future and all the other systems that came out of D&D. Also the additional books for 3rd edition offered Spell Points spellcasting as well as XPH (Expanded Psionics Handbook) that gave a spellpoint spellcaster.
I do not see your complaint. It is more generic then Storyteller for instance, but not GURPS. GURPS has its own problems which make D&D still the worlds no1 roleplaying game.


Again, it is NOT generic in any sense. Can someone put in the work to change the whole magic system so they are better able to run a campaign in any of the established fantasy settings(or their own)? Sure. Has this been done to limited extent in the Unearthed Arcana(3rd ed. D&D)? Sure...as an alternate sort of afterthought. But again my contention is with the system proper...not with whatever house ruled creative add-ons anyone may have come up with.
I do not care for "Storyteller" and agree that GURPS has problems of it's own(but that system's problems have NOTHING to do with this subject and so are irrelevant).

Going by your(and my own) own reasoning here it seems that D&D should go with the spell-point based system the designers seem to want and include the Vancian "Fire & Forget" system as an alternate in some supplemental sourcebook. I would have no problem with that. Correct?

SkeleTony wrote:I think you are one of those who was first introduced to RPGing through D&D and you seemingly do not understand the point I am making.

Yes I was, through AD&D. But I tried many different systems since (some that were never published) and I still find D&D spellcasting one of the more fun and unique. As I said Star Wars Saga Edition has a great spellcasting system which i similar to D&D but with more freedom and less constraints. Arcana Evolved is another fun D&D-like spellcasting system. Check them both out.[/quote]

So you are familiar with (A)D&D's system and another D20 Star Wars game's very similar system and another D&D-like system(Arcana Evolved) but you are not familiar with the progressive classics like RuneQuest, Tunnels & Trolls(second RPG ever created. Very simple and 'lite' as opposed to RQ's logical mechanics), and so forth? This seems to confirm my suspicion rather than contradict it.

SkeleTony wrote:Go back and read some Heroic Fantasy fiction(not the freaking AD&D based books...Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance and crap. That does not count for obvious reasons). Notice anything? Those are basically spell-point systems. Every single one of them almost. The Vancian "fire & forget" system not only does not reflect the genre that D&D attempts to reflect but it is also just plain nonsensical(I noticed no one addressed THAT point I made...). A spell point system does everything that the fire and forget syste4m does PLUS a lot more and a lot better! It just makes no sense for casters to be forgetting specific spells they memorize or having to have a specific quantity of 'memorizations'.

So what if those books are not vancian? I do not play PnP to recreate books, I like to tell my own story. And I find D&D spellcasting nicer for that then others.
And I really have no idea why are you using words like "sense" for fantasy?


First of all, "Fantasy" does not mean "nonsense". Just because fantasy employs the 'What if?' situational storytelling for it's setting and subject matter does not mean that one should abandon all sensibility in regards to things like quantification because "magic doesn't really exist". For example a character in a fantasy novel will not add two daggers to another two daggers and conclude that he has 894 daggers and will never be able to carry them all. 2 + 2 should still equal '4', even in fantasy.
Secondly, the rest of what you wrote is barely relevant at all. No one is arguing that YOU should not be able to use a wonky magic system for your own personal RPGing. My contention here is with people who routinely try to copy and re-use this same wonky system that is not characteristic of the genre as if it IS characteristic of the genre, simply because they do not know any better. Almost everyone I have encountered who defends this Vancian system was introduced to fantasy through D&D before they had a chance to discover Moorcock or Lieber or Tolkien on their own and that is why they do not see or refuse to acknowledge the problems with the fire & forget system.

But in any case you seem to concur here that the system does not make sense as far as the genre of heroic fantasy goes so I will leave that alone now..


To us in the real world all magic systems make no sense, and are impossible as magic has not been proven to exist in the real world, and we certainly do not know how it would work.


Magic's nonexistence is irrelevant here though. No one is arguing that D&D should be more like the real world in it's subject matter. In fact I am arguing the exact OPPOSITE! I am saying D&D should be more like FANTASY fiction!


So, just chill and play the fantasy game that suits you instead of attacking the ones that do not. Thankfully there are many different systems out there for all kinds of players and their preferences.


If only that were true...;) The problem here is the great contradiction between D&D's vast influence on fantasy games and how magic is depicted in teh genre itself.

I will try another analogy here to illustrate my point:

We are all familiar with psionics from the sci-fi genre. Pretty much universally, though such abilities do not exist in real life, we accept them as a premise in science fiction and they are almost universally defined as extraordinary powers of physicality, divination and manipulation using only the mind.

Now say some sci-fi RPG were to come out in 1972 and, instead of D&D it was a sci-fi game(like Traveller). In that game, being the first RPG ever attempted, the author is a bit perplexed on how to present psionics but he remembers a comic book he once read and enjoyed where psionics were performed by walking like a duck and 'quacking' at different volumes to achieve different feats(telekinesis, telepathy etc.).

So he presents THAT as the psionics system in his sci-fi RPG. Now soon after another couple of guys create a new sci-fi game and they immediately put forth a psionics system that is like that of sci-fi books and movies and does not involve walking like a duck and quacking.

But they are too late. the first RPG, being the first one out of the gate, benefits by the 'McDonald's Factor'(i.e. McDonalds may or may not have the best food of all fast food restaurants but since they were the first, they are ingrained in the public consciousness) and thousands of kids who were introduced to sci-fi through that game think it is perfectly sensible that 95% of all RPGs(computer and otherwise) employ the 'duck-quacking psionics'.

In 2009 a guy named Blue Salamander releases a new sci-fi CRPG wherein psionic agents all walk in circles and quack like ducks to achieve psionic feats.


Do you see the problem I have now?

What you are doing is the same like saying all movies should be action flicks and everyone should like them and watch them. Thanks but no thanks.



False analogy. I am doing NOTHING like that. The correct analogy would be that I am like a guy who is VERY familiar with action flicks and their conventions who is protesting a RPG where in order to punch someone or shoot a gun, a hero must first memorize a specific number of 'punches' and 'shots' and after he performs them in any fight, he cannot act until the next day.
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Re: Let's have a better magic system(than D&D's "Fire & Forget")

Postby Archangel » Wed Oct 07, 2009 12:23 pm

What you accuse us of you are guilty of as well. You assume that because you didn't start with D&D you are right and we are wrong.
Also I do not like your tone, you act and write like you know everything and you are absolutely right. If you want a discussion I suggest you tone it down. If you want to preach then please go somewhere else or as far as I am concerned this will be my last post on this subject.
Also you come to conclusion based on I do not know what. You made some conclusion about me that are not OK or right.

Now that I got that off my chest let me try once more to have a discussion with you (mostly because I am bored as I know you will dismiss whatever I write here instantly or use it to preach to us).

I mentioned lift gates/bend bars because you used it for a point which I considered not valid if you use rules from the old days of D&D for comparison.
As for that being different, it is, in it own unique way. If it can be explained well it can work. So does vancian casting as it is explained well enough.

Furthermore I cannot agree designers wanted point based system, if they did 4e would be different. Instead 4e is even more limited in spellcasting then 3e and 2e.
Alternate rules in the Unearthed Arcana were made well and functional in my opinion. I never used them as I like vancian but I read them.
As for the rest as I said on top do not assume what I think or am.

I am also familiar with Storyteller (last and the one before that) and GURPS similar systems. I also played some other d6 systems that had free spellcasting.
I also played many cRPG with different systems (and many using spellpoints or mana).
I still consider Vancian the most interesting.

Now lets get into the "sense in fantasy". Although things in fantasy that exist in the real world usually are preferred to be logical using real world logic (although there are many worlds that do not follow this and still are good), the same cannot apply to magic. Yes there are stories and worlds that try to explain magic through real life laws of physics or whatever (like books about Star Trek technology) most magic is not and needs not to be logical, it only needs to fit into whatever story the author is trying to tell.
By that statement, vancian system is no more or less logical or makes no more or less sense then then any other magic system. It all comes down to what one prefers.
I prefer vancian (or something similar like SWSE), you prefer spellpoint. So you have no right coming here telling us all that we have no clue what we are talking about and that spellpoint is superior to all.

And my example with the movies was perfect with the kind of tone your posts are written in no matter how much you want to deny it.
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Re: Let's have a better magic system(than D&D's "Fire & Forget")

Postby VentilatorOfDoom » Wed Oct 07, 2009 3:51 pm

SkeleTony wrote:This contention does not make any sense. I have never encountered such a spell point system where you are able to cast LESS spells than AD&D allows for similar "levels'.

But I encountered such systems. A good example is Wiz8. I'm pretty sure a lvl 20 DnD Mage can cast more spells and to better effect than a lvl 20 Wizard in Wiz8.
Of course Wiz8 does additionally suffer from stupid design desicions like making the majority of spells useless, and forcing you to cast spells repeatedly before rest so that you train your skills while using up your mana pool , because if you don't do it you're going to suck even more as a caster later. Not much better than to jump up and down in Oblivion to train the jumping skill. Of course this has nothing to do with spell points vs Vancian, but it puzzles me how you can seriously tell me that
SkeleTony wrote:Wizardry 8 did have a problem with direct damage spells being weaker than the other spells but other than that it worked better than 99% of the CRPGs released.

makes me rofl tbh. For me the spell system in Wiz8 was certainly not one of its strong points alongeside the paragon example of TB done wrong. My Wizard spends at least 50% of his combat time - if not more actually - using a sling instead of casting spells. A sign of superior spell system? I think not.

An even better example than Wiz8 is for instance DSA Drakensang, your Mage casts 3 or 4 spells, then his mana pool is depleted and he enters combat as some sort of weak fighter. How exciting. Another game with 3 or 4 useful spells that you're going to use again and again, exclusively.

SkeleTony wrote:A well designed RPG does not suffer the problem of "overpowerin" regardless of the nsystem used so any games you played where you felt "overpowered" were the fault of lackluster play-testing.

Well I guess it must be the lackluster playtesting then, like in Darksun for instance, where you had a spellpoint based system for psionicists. The sheer abundance of spellpoints and the low costs for badass spells like Mass Dominate just assured you could steamroll the opposition with very little chance to ever run of psi-points. And they regenerated too! Another good example is VTM Redemption, where you're going to have a massive bloodpool, supported by bloodpool increasing equipment and bloodpool refilling spells like Theft of Vitae to ensure you can cast like a Bloodgod without ever running out of spell points, I mean blood points.

SkeleTony wrote:you cannot come up with a cogent argument for NOT using a better system

SkeleTony wrote:and not rationality

skip the ad hominems, saves us time

My preference for the Vancian system is neither rooted in nostalgia, nor irrationality, nor in lacking familiarity with other systems. I hope that doesn't come as a shock to you, but I'm familiar with more RPGs than just DnD. After having played a lot of different RPgs with different spell systems I just decided which one I prefer. That's it.

SkeleTony wrote:Because if it is simply that AD&D is what you are familiar with and it has given you an inaccurate sense of what Heroic Fantasy as a genre is all about


I guess I can only apologize for my inaccurate sense and whatnot, I figure your sense is the accurate and rational one amirite? So maybe, instead of just telling me that my preference is wrong and yours is right, how about giving me a couple of examples of CRPGs where a spellpoint system worked really well? And instead of making baseless contentions like "Wiz8 spell system worked better than 99% of the CRPGs released" how about backing these claims up? I'm just asking because your Wiz8 praise directly contradicts my own experience with this game.
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