Friday, October 5, 2012

Lingering Innovations: Magic Systems

Looking at this recent Legends & Lore column, it seems like we might get Spells & Magic style magic systems again in D&D Next.

This is a little disappointing to me. Primarily because the article seems to trumpet this as some major innovation: the DM gets to control the magic system. Magic systems are not really something new in D&D. We even see some similar ideas in the third edition Unearthed Arcana and SRD: both recharge magic and spell points.

Now, I'm actually in favor of this, to some extent. I think published magic variants will help people choose systems that work for their game. The question I have is would different magic systems be able to co-exist, and how does this interact with the sorcerer-warlock-wizard triad since those seem to have developed to allow for these variant magic systems in play.

My concern with this approach is that it might dilute the story of the game a lot. That is, can you really make a modular, setting-free system? Maybe I'm concerned for no good reason. A few well-implemented and broadly written magic systems might really liven up the game.

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