Faery-tale

2013/01/08

The poverty of D&D spellcasting philosophy

I have always declared that AD&D spellcasting system is childish.

Let us compare.

ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS 1st edition:

Magic-users draw upon arcane powers in order to exercise their
profession. While they have mighty spells of offensive, defensive, and
informational nature, magic-usersare very weak in combat. They have but
four-sided dice (d4) to determine how many hit points of damage they can
withstand, and magic-users have the least favorable table and progression
as regards missile and melee combat. Furthermore, they can wear no
armor and have few weapons they can use, for martial training is so
foreign to magic-use as to make the two almost mutually exclusive. Magic-
users can be of any alignment (explained hereafter).



LANDS OF THE RISING SUN (here):

[...]Yet mighty as it· was, Magic was never easy to learn nor to .perform.
Magicians had to go through years of study and austerity to scale the
heights of their art. To such scholarly mages, it was the mastery of
Magic that was their chief ambition. They went forth to adventure
not for excitement nor for riches, but to gain the wealth and rare
materials they needed for the further advancement of their studies
.

[...]And don't forget that casting a spell is not a simple, fool-proof pro-
cedure. The mage must do more than wave his hands, utter mystic
words, and expend fatigue points; He must have mastered the spell
(or be able to remember a partially mastered spell); he often has to
target his spell against the area or beings it is to affect (and be pre-
pared to have it go off elsewhere or even backfire against himself if
he fails to target successfully). Also spells of Illusion and Command
can be saved against by those of Intelligence and Wisdom-at the
cost of fatigue point loss.


CHIVALRY & SORCERY:

 If Magick is a form of knowledge, then the Magician should be seen as a seeker after knowledge. He is not a mere weapons technologist, as presented in some FRP games. He will not serve gold or power hungry individuals. Nor will he act as a heavily armed magical escort for glory-seeking adventurers simply because they need a compact magical S.W.A.T. team to take care of really dangerous foes. He has little interest in gaining possession of the magical devices of other Mages, because he can produce his own. His sole passion is to learn all of the secrets of the Arcane Arts -- the very secrets of the universe as he sees it. He is curious. He has to know the Truth! That Truth will most certainly give him great Powers, but it is in the knowing, not the exercise of Power, that the Magician finds his fulfillment ...

This does not rule out the excitement of an adventure. Only the Magician has some deep motive for going. He stands to learn something new or is attempting to forestall some terrible disaster. He doesn't go for ordinary reasons; for he is not an ordinary man.




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