I know, I know. It’s been a few weeks. Sorry. I got busy at work, and there’s no new news on the playtest, and the DnDNext forums have beaten every dead horse to a bloody pulp already.
But I’m back, folks! Because Monte Cook’s new Legends & Lore column just made me smile.
It’s good for gameplay. It requires casters to think about what spells they want to cast ahead of time. It requires them to use their abilities judiciously. In other words, smart play is rewarded. You need to have an idea of what kind of adventure you are about to undertake to optimize your character, which often takes planning and perhaps research.
Yes, yes, yes, and yes. 4E Wizards may be powerful, and they may always have a spell to cast, but the result is something very flat in terms of character and play. Vancian magic was a challenge to a character.
In general, playing a Vancian wizard sometimes meant trying unusual tactics because heck, I haven’t used feather fall yet today and there’s a dropoff right there and there’s a chance this just might work. I remember in 2E, when I’d discover unusual or corner-case spells in some forgotten tome, and copy them to my spellbook, and just look for an excuse to prepare them for an adventure. And if I got a chance to cast some of those more unusual spells? Heck, that was a notch in the old wizarding staff! [In 3E, wizards would usually turn those corner-case spells into scrolls. Same outcome, but a little less fun when you could always have them on hand.]
Of course, Cook says — as he said back at DDXP — that Vancian wasn’t going to be the only magic option out there. And he gave a more extended example of the magical feats that were first discussed n the DDXP seminars. I’m all for this idea, especially since he dropped names like Mordenkainen and Tenser. Give my wizard an auto-hitting magic missile at-will power, and he’ll never have to fire his crossbow again.
Yeah, Vancian magic looks like a shoe-in for D&D 5E. And I couldn’t be more glad.
True Confession Time
I’ve payed with Vancian magic for more than twenty years … but I’ve never read The Dying Earth or any of books in that series. In honor of Vancian magic’s triumphant return in 5E, I think I’m going to give it a read. I wonder if there’s a Kindle edition …