Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Vancian Magic vs. greater spell flexibility
I have always despised the Vancian magic system of D&D. During our play of Basic, AD&D, and 3rd edition we tried RAW in every case but over time they left us feeling unsatisfied. We gave up basic for AD&D. House ruled AD&D for spell points. House ruled 3rd edition for spell slots. Vancian magic never felt 'right' in our campaigns and we did not like the side effects on the game. Those who do not like the Vancian magic have written tomes on what is wrong with it. For us it was: 1. Takes too long to select spells 2. Spells other than standard never selected 3. The short adventure day: Forced to respell after a small number of encounters – come back next day (to be fair this is not entirely a Vancian magic problem) 4. Cleric has to save spells to cure characters and/or party needs to purchase curing power (wands, potions, scrolls) to use between encounters. So we devised house rules to change the game. (what a shock, huh) For us it works. It does require some machinations on the part of the DM; the game is just not designed for the power boost granted the players by that flexibility. I say so what. The magic system seemed alien to us and there was always a sense of something not quite right in the game. We are much happier with the change, and with careful DMing and some other house rules the spell casters do NOT overshadow the other characters. So my questions to you all: (regardless of edition you play pre 4th): If you could easily house rule the game balance, would you change to a more flexible spell learning/using system or do you prefer the flavor of the Vancian spell system? If you are a fan of the flavor of the Vancian spell system, is it because you are a fan of the Vance novels or a fan of the original flavor as you learned in the game?