Friday, September 26, 2008

I miss the old spells

I'm a fan of 4e D&D but there are many aspects of the older editions that I miss. One of them is the handling of magic spells. There are still some aspects to the new spell rules that strongly resemble the Vancian magic system. These are the daily powers specific to wizards. Although I agree that making certain spells available at-will is useful, the structure of the 4e rules makes the invention of new spells a little difficult. Or does it?

As soon as I heard about the new fourth edition of Dungeons & Dragons, I declared that I was going to buy it as soon as it was published and use it from then on. I tried to learn as much as possible beforehand. I bought the preview books and listened to the podcasts made by Wizards of the Coast. I understood the wisdom of the drastic restructuring of the rules. There needed to be a balance to all the character classes. They achieved that. But the result is a radically different game. I'm still getting used to it.

The wizard is my favorite player-character class. It has always been my favorite since my early days of gaming. I loved pouring over the vast variety of spells given in the various rule books. Over the years, new spells were invented. However, inventing new spells seemed arbitrary. Much like new monsters, new spells were created by comparing the effects to previously published spells. This philosophy has changed with 4e.

A new aspect to D&D in 4e are ritual spells. This appears to be the catch-all for the spells that can't be rationally incorporated into the structure of character powers. But if you want to create new ritual spells for 4e you have to compare them to the ones given in the ritual spell list.

But what about creating new spell powers? Would that throw the game out of balance?

I'm not sure I like being married to spell powers. To me, it seems that a wizard should be able to switch out at-will, encounter, and daily powers as he or she desires. Perhaps a fair set of house rules could address this?

Time will tell. And I have a feeling that a future splat book may greatly expand upon the handling of 4e spell powers.

2 comments:

Scott said...

Creating new powers (for any class) won't throw the system out of balance as long as the powers themselves are balanced. Determining that balance can be a little tricky... but it's pretty easy to get "close" by looking at the other powers (across all classes) of that level.

Micah said...

"As soon as I heard about the new fourth edition of Dungeons & Dragons, I declared that I was going to buy it as soon as it was published and use it from then on."

That's a bit dangerous, don't you think? What if the new edition sucked? Maybe it would be better to see what you thought of 4E before swearing off all older editions in perpetuity.

For the record, I don't think 4E "sucks", but I do think it's vastly different than 3E and definitely not superior in every way.