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View Full Version : Something has always bugged me about the spellcsters



Hazelnut
05-04-2014, 01:04 PM
This is a comment on the design of the Sorcerer in Dungeons and Dragons, not specifically the DDO sorcerer because DDO just based their design on the D&D books. I'm being more philosophical than anything.

I don't understand why the Sorcerer has such a crappy hit-die. The sorcerer is described (in the actual source material for both D&D 2.0 and 3.5) as an arcane spell-caster that travels and explores the world. This is even reflected in the original artwork in those books. Shouldn't someone who is out in the world adventuring have a higher hit-die?

To quote the 3.5 PHB:

The typical sorcerer adventures in order to improve his abilities. Only by testing his limits can he expand them.

On the other hand a Wizard (previously magic-user) is an acadmeic who prefers digging through books, studying, and experimenting with magic. This nicely explains why the wizard gets more feats and spells and prepares spells. it also explains why the wizard has a d4 hit-die. The wizard is a professor who only goes out into the world to chase down some academic curiosity while the sorcerer explores and travels.

Another quote from 3.5 PHB:

Wizards depend on intensive study to create their magic. They examine musty old tomes, debate magical theory with their peers, and practice minor magics whenever they can.

Even more so, the cleric has just as many spell points and spells as the wizard but gets a better hit-die, is able to wear armor, and knows how to use more weapons. Yet the cleric is really a religious type. Arguably a sort of traveling missionary bringing faith and healing to those who are not yet blessed by the faith. I don't understand why they get heavy armor (they are not knights of the church, the knights would be the paladins, but that's another argument). The point being, there is prescience with this spell-caster type to have a higher hit-die and more weapon proficiencies.

Even the favored soul (which I don't have in my books) has more weapon proficiencies and a better hit-die but is basically the religious version of the sorcerer (more spell points, less feats, less flexibility in spells).

So, other than tradition, why doesn't the Sorcerer have a higher hit-die and more weapon proficiencies. Even light-armor proficiency would make a lot of sense from the point of view of the intend flavor of the class.

I'm not suggesting Turbine change the sorcerer because it might unbalance the game and this isn't about game mechanics. It's about the flavor of the game.

SirValentine
05-04-2014, 02:05 PM
The difference between "going out adventuring" and "academic study" is the difference between level 1 and level 20, i.e., getting MORE hit dice, not getting BIGGER hit dice.

The difference between d4s and higher hit dice is about how much your training is focused on absorbing physical damage. For casters, not as much. For Barbs, a whole lot.

Hazelnut
05-10-2014, 10:37 AM
The difference between "going out adventuring" and "academic study" is the difference between level 1 and level 20, i.e., getting MORE hit dice, not getting BIGGER hit dice.

The difference between d4s and higher hit dice is about how much your training is focused on absorbing physical damage. For casters, not as much. For Barbs, a whole lot.

Your argument would make sense if Favoured Souls and Clerics also had a D4. Both of those are dedicated to "religious study" and yet both get more than a d4. Clearly they both spend as much time studying their respective spells since they follow the same formula for spell points and learned spells as Sorcerers and Wizards respectively.

Uska
05-10-2014, 11:20 AM
Wizards and Sorcerers have more combat magic available and traditionally ignore or at least only pay secondary attention to direct physical combat, Clerics and Favored Souls emphasize physical combat as well as using spells. Pretty much the tradition for dnd for 40 years now

Nodoze
05-10-2014, 11:31 AM
Your argument would make sense if Favoured Souls and Clerics also had a D4. Both of those are dedicated to "religious study" and yet both get more than a d4. Clearly they both spend as much time studying their respective spells since they follow the same formula for spell points and learned spells as Sorcerers and Wizards respectively.Wizardly study and Divine Prayer are not the same thing. Maybe one drains and the other charges.

Shaude
05-10-2014, 06:43 PM
i believe a lot of the difference is due to the (wizard) study and testing his hp is low D4, a sorcerer has lower hp D4 due to the inate ability to control magic(ie. blood magic, blood of the dragons) therefore the magic eats or wears his body down thus the lower hp.

i dont get the pally/cleric/fvs either

pally the melee protector and warrior of the church and yet no really melee prowess but higher hp/weapon/armor
cleric the magic is grated by his/her god thus no drop in hp, but as they are in battle healing and such high hp, and armor
fvs i dont know how or when but is cool for ddo.

Lonnbeimnech
05-10-2014, 09:23 PM
Clerics are based on the Knights Templar, which were an order of monks, that happened to be armored warriors that would escort pilgrims and even merchants to and from the 'holy land'.

Your average priest/pastor/rabbi would be a level 0 commoner.


Paladins are not your run of the mill warrior of the church, they are supposed to be quite rare, highly charismatic and thus natural leaders. So you would be looking at the likes of El Cid, Ivanhoe or Joan of Arc.

Common foot soldiers and knights, even 'of the church' would be fighters.

Hazelnut
05-11-2014, 03:23 PM
Wizards and Sorcerers have more combat magic available and traditionally ignore or at least only pay secondary attention to direct physical combat, Clerics and Favored Souls emphasize physical combat as well as using spells. Pretty much the tradition for dnd for 40 years now

Ya, that is what bothers me. It doesn't make sense to me.

Hazelnut
05-11-2014, 03:26 PM
Clerics are based on the Knights Templar, which were an order of monks, that happened to be armored warriors that would escort pilgrims and even merchants to and from the 'holy land'.

Your average priest/pastor/rabbi would be a level 0 commoner.


Paladins are not your run of the mill warrior of the church, they are supposed to be quite rare, highly charismatic and thus natural leaders. So you would be looking at the likes of El Cid, Ivanhoe or Joan of Arc.

Common foot soldiers and knights, even 'of the church' would be fighters.

Then clerics wouldn't be the healers and the paladin should be a type of prestige class of cleric or some such. I do like your explanation. It gives some justification to the cleric.

Uska
05-11-2014, 03:32 PM
Ya, that is what bothers me. It doesn't make sense to me.

Well it does to me and I have been playing dnd for almost 40 years

Hazelnut
05-11-2014, 03:32 PM
i believe a lot of the difference is due to the (wizard) study and testing his hp is low D4, a sorcerer has lower hp D4 due to the inate ability to control magic(ie. blood magic, blood of the dragons) therefore the magic eats or wears his body down thus the lower hp.

i dont get the pally/cleric/fvs either

pally the melee protector and warrior of the church and yet no really melee prowess but higher hp/weapon/armor
cleric the magic is grated by his/her god thus no drop in hp, but as they are in battle healing and such high hp, and armor
fvs i dont know how or when but is cool for ddo.

Is there anything in the source material to support that use of magic drains the spell casters?

I would think that blood of the dragons would make the sorcerers stronger instead of weaker. There is direct reference to sorcerers having dragon blood as the explanation for their innate ability with magic. Although that speaks to me of them being physically stronger, not weaker. Since the sorcerer can feel magic and is naturally gifted with it, I would expect a sorcerer would need less study to use it than a wizard of the same ability. Thus letting the sorcerer practice more with other skills. That also ties in nicely with the tendency for the sorcerer being more adventurous.

I really don't buy your argue,net about the cleric. It doesn't fit game mechanics or logic. If we take actual historic religious categories, the cleric would fit best with the hospitallers, who pretty much started formal medical study in western history. They focused on healing, which required a lot of study.

If you take the paladin as a fighting sect, that explains their lower spell power. They spend time learning to fight. They strike me as similar to the knights templar.

Someone else claimed that the cleric was based on knights Templar. I would like to know the source before I accept that. I don't recall seeing that in official books. But then it has been a long time since I played pen and paper.

mobrien316
05-11-2014, 05:24 PM
I can remember playing PnP in the early 1980's and getting 1d4 for my magic user's hit points. Low levels were quite a challenge when you had 2 hit points and could get killed by a rat; not a giant rat, or a wererat - just a regular old rat...

Uska
05-11-2014, 05:41 PM
Is there anything in the source material to support that use of magic drains the spell casters?

I would think that blood of the dragons would make the sorcerers stronger instead of weaker. There is direct reference to sorcerers having dragon blood as the explanation for their innate ability with magic. Although that speaks to me of them being physically stronger, not weaker. Since the sorcerer can feel magic and is naturally gifted with it, I would expect a sorcerer would need less study to use it than a wizard of the same ability. Thus letting the sorcerer practice more with other skills. That also ties in nicely with the tendency for the sorcerer being more adventurous.

I really don't buy your argue,net about the cleric. It doesn't fit game mechanics or logic. If we take actual historic religious categories, the cleric would fit best with the hospitallers, who pretty much started formal medical study in western history. They focused on healing, which required a lot of study.

If you take the paladin as a fighting sect, that explains their lower spell power. They spend time learning to fight. They strike me as similar to the knights templar.

Someone else claimed that the cleric was based on knights Templar. I would like to know the source before I accept that. I don't recall seeing that in official books. But then it has been a long time since I played pen and paper.


You might be happier on NWO they follow closer to what you want generic classes. Sorcerers I can't really speak on since they weren't a part of original dnd but wizards were based mainly on those from the stories of Jack Vance it's why original dnd's magic system is called Vancian the referral to clerics as knights Templar comes from AD&D and the minds of the original creators they stated it several times.

If you can't take the word of people who have probably been playing dnd longer than you have been alive then I am done with you as I think you might be baiting people.

BigErkyKid
05-12-2014, 04:09 AM
I think the final decision of of 1d4 is based on balance, not necessarily on lore. I do agree 1d6 would make more sense to me. In DDO that would be particularly bad, since a lot of the utility spells from DnD don-t exist or are useless, so this would even tip more the balance to sorc. In a DnD session, I found that our DM rewarded a lot having those little utility spells.

As for people claiming to know better, be careful because the world is full of older people than you who have been playing DnD longer...which means absolutely nothing, since this is not a discussion on whether this or this other writer, dev or what not from wizzards of the coast had something or something else in mind.

Lonnbeimnech
05-12-2014, 04:30 AM
Is there anything in the source material to support that use of magic drains the spell casters?

I would think that blood of the dragons would make the sorcerers stronger instead of weaker. There is direct reference to sorcerers having dragon blood as the explanation for their innate ability with magic. Although that speaks to me of them being physically stronger, not weaker. Since the sorcerer can feel magic and is naturally gifted with it, I would expect a sorcerer would need less study to use it than a wizard of the same ability. Thus letting the sorcerer practice more with other skills. That also ties in nicely with the tendency for the sorcerer being more adventurous.

Your average human is level 0, and has 1d8 hit dice. Most people have 4 or 5 hp, with 8 being a tough guy, and 1 being an invalid. A level 20 sorc would have 20d4, 50 on average <-- that is amazingly tough.

As far as them spending less time studying compared to a wizard and thus having more time for other skills; in pnp sorcs get proficiency in a few weapons that wizards do not get, such as spear, mace and javelin.




I really don't buy your argue,net about the cleric. It doesn't fit game mechanics or logic. If we take actual historic religious categories, the cleric would fit best with the hospitallers, who pretty much started formal medical study in western history. They focused on healing, which required a lot of study.

If you take the paladin as a fighting sect, that explains their lower spell power. They spend time learning to fight. They strike me as similar to the knights templar.

Someone else claimed that the cleric was based on knights Templar. I would like to know the source before I accept that. I don't recall seeing that in official books. But then it has been a long time since I played pen and paper.

If you want to think of them as hospitallers that's a fine comparison as well. Dispite being healers, this is how they dressed.
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_nouprOuzjXU/S67ZdfI7AJI/AAAAAAAAAGg/ecC01aJljq4/s400/Pegaso+Knight+Hospitaller.jpg They were a military order, just as much as the templars were.

Missing_Minds
05-12-2014, 08:13 AM
Ya, that is what bothers me. It doesn't make sense to me.

Magic doesn't make sense... imagine that.

I always took it like this. Academia, unless you spend your time researching you don't get more spells, you just earn your living. So how do you earn your keep? If I stayed in school I'd learn more spells for sure, but I'd have less funds. By leaving school I learn spells now a heck of a lot slower, but I've got funds to do what else I want to do. But still what are you doing for the most part? Sitting around watching things, sitting around reading books, sitting around writing notes, sitting around...

Divines? think of the setting. After going through "basic training" which is dependent upon the detity (after all there are many gods/goddess of travel, war, etc.) that would have you get phyiscal, *not* just sit around and listen to people confess. They would go out and *do* work to get people interested in their faith. And in doing so, learn more what it means, for themselves, of how to become closer to their chosen deity. Stronger faith through work, so because the work is going on they get the larger hit dice.

Does this apply to all dieties? Most likely not, but then look at the game. Dice. It is a game of averages really.

My take on it at least.

Hazelnut
05-15-2014, 06:28 PM
Magic doesn't make sense... imagine that.

I always took it like this. Academia, unless you spend your time researching you don't get more spells, you just earn your living. So how do you earn your keep? If I stayed in school I'd learn more spells for sure, but I'd have less funds. By leaving school I learn spells now a heck of a lot slower, but I've got funds to do what else I want to do. But still what are you doing for the most part? Sitting around watching things, sitting around reading books, sitting around writing notes, sitting around...

Divines? think of the setting. After going through "basic training" which is dependent upon the detity (after all there are many gods/goddess of travel, war, etc.) that would have you get phyiscal, *not* just sit around and listen to people confess. They would go out and *do* work to get people interested in their faith. And in doing so, learn more what it means, for themselves, of how to become closer to their chosen deity. Stronger faith through work, so because the work is going on they get the larger hit dice.

Does this apply to all dieties? Most likely not, but then look at the game. Dice. It is a game of averages really.

My take on it at least.

Best argument I've read so far. I still think the sorcerer should be tougher than the wizard. The wizard is the academic, the sorcerer is out in the field. Which is why the sorcerer has less spells and should be a bit tougher than a wizard.

Cardoor
05-15-2014, 06:59 PM
If a 10y.o. sorc was being chased by wolves, I would think the sorc child would turn to magic before picking up a club or stone.

My point is that in a combat situation, the magic user (sorc or wiz) will be apt to rely on what is effective for them. Once you go from a generalization to something more specific, multi-classing makes more sense when the original class doesn't encompass everything you envision your character is.

Missing_Minds
05-15-2014, 07:16 PM
Best argument I've read so far. I still think the sorcerer should be tougher than the wizard. The wizard is the academic, the sorcerer is out in the field. Which is why the sorcerer has less spells and should be a bit tougher than a wizard.
They modified toughness for weapon proficiencies. Given their "one trick" spell list (due to it being smaller), instead of only being proficient with : club, dagger, heavy crossbow, light crossbow, and quarterstaff.

They are proficient with all simple weapons. That was the design made for them in the essence of balance when you consider low level vs high level.

However, I grant you that I think sorcs got bit shafted in the 3.5 rules compared to wizards. They should have been given 4 skill points a level as well. Given Cha and not Int is their stat.

Ayseifn
05-15-2014, 07:30 PM
I don't understand why the Sorcerer has such a crappy hit-die. The sorcerer is described (in the actual source material for both D&D 2.0 and 3.5) as an arcane spell-caster that travels and explores the world. This is even reflected in the original artwork in those books. Shouldn't someone who is out in the world adventuring have a higher hit-die?

I don't remember sorcs being in 2nd edition at all, what I do remember from that edition though was that different classes gained XP for doing different, class specific things. So fighters got more XP from killing things, thieves from obtaining treasure and the like, wizards got theirs from casting/learning spells or creating magic items. If sorcs existed there they'd probably follow the wizard XP philosophy but get more XP for casting as they wouldn't be able to research spells, so D4 makes sense to me.

Baldurs Gate was based on 2nd Ed though and did have sorcs, they had no stat minimum reqs so you could theoretically pump that con higher than a wizard.

Noctus
05-21-2014, 12:25 PM
Your average human is level 0, and has 1d8 hit dice. Most people have 4 or 5 hp, with 8 being a tough guy, and 1 being an invalid. A level 20 sorc would have 20d4, 50 on average <-- that is amazingly tough.

As far as them spending less time studying compared to a wizard and thus having more time for other skills; in pnp sorcs get proficiency in a few weapons that wizards do not get, such as spear, mace and javelin.




If you want to think of them as hospitallers that's a fine comparison as well. Dispite being healers, this is how they dressed.
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_nouprOuzjXU/S67ZdfI7AJI/AAAAAAAAAGg/ecC01aJljq4/s400/Pegaso+Knight+Hospitaller.jpg They were a military order, just as much as the templars were.




But in difference to the templars, they are still around, although they have become a bit more peaceful over the centuries:

http://dekanat-wetterau.facettnet.ekhn.de/fileadmin/content/dekanat-wetterau/bilder/diverses/johanniter.jpg



And nowadays they focus their work on healing and 1st aid:

http://www.rth.info/fdm/img/fdm0510xxl.jpg

TheDr0wRanger
08-20-2014, 09:06 AM
You might be happier on NWO they follow closer to what you want generic classes. Sorcerers I can't really speak on since they weren't a part of original dnd but wizards were based mainly on those from the stories of Jack Vance it's why original dnd's magic system is called Vancian the referral to clerics as knights Templar comes from AD&D and the minds of the original creators they stated it several times.

If you can't take the word of people who have probably been playing dnd longer than you have been alive then I am done with you as I think you might be baiting people.


Yeah, Shame on you for asking a lore question on a forum and not immediately being silenced when someone on the internet says they are right.

He indicated he wasn't trying to institute a change, he said he didn't think lorewise it made sense. And hes been mostly non-argumentative, simply unconvinced.



Now, to the question. Adventuring doesn't imply toughness necessarily. He won't be weak by any means but given that his offensive power comes from within I suspect his ever-growing reserves of power come from the "exercise" of adventuring in some degree. I mean they explain it as innate power but it also makes sense to say that because he's running around using his skills constantly that his capacity to use them would improve.

As for being tough, given that casters in traditional play don't tend to stand and take punishment if they can help it, theres no reason to believe they would in the wild either. A sorcerer will still be a nuke and run sort of individual and thus will not have the same tolerance for violence as fighters and clerics that emphasize melee in some respects.

Further the Wizard spends his time studying and practicing, which means he takes enough hits of his own(from failed casts or the effects of new spells) to keep pace with a sorcerer.

Just 2 cents on why it might work.

Hazelnut
09-10-2014, 07:09 PM
Yeah, Shame on you for asking a lore question on a forum and not immediately being silenced when someone on the internet says they are right.

He indicated he wasn't trying to institute a change, he said he didn't think lorewise it made sense. And hes been mostly non-argumentative, simply unconvinced.



Now, to the question. Adventuring doesn't imply toughness necessarily. He won't be weak by any means but given that his offensive power comes from within I suspect his ever-growing reserves of power come from the "exercise" of adventuring in some degree. I mean they explain it as innate power but it also makes sense to say that because he's running around using his skills constantly that his capacity to use them would improve.

As for being tough, given that casters in traditional play don't tend to stand and take punishment if they can help it, theres no reason to believe they would in the wild either. A sorcerer will still be a nuke and run sort of individual and thus will not have the same tolerance for violence as fighters and clerics that emphasize melee in some respects.

Further the Wizard spends his time studying and practicing, which means he takes enough hits of his own(from failed casts or the effects of new spells) to keep pace with a sorcerer.

Just 2 cents on why it might work.

Thanks for a well thought out answer.

fmalfeas
11-08-2014, 04:32 AM
I saw the question about why 'the healers' are running around in heavy armor, and had to chime in. In D&D, cleric does not mean healer. That's mainly a thing from video games, especially MMOs. D&D clerics are militant traveling clergy. They fight for the interests of the church and their god and their people. Sure, they can cure, they can heal, they can even raise the dead eventually. But they also call down smouldering wrath from the sky, rend the ground asunder with divine displeasure, call forth their deity's vassals to fight at their side (or for evil clerics, to serve them). They train to use their armor well, and how to wield their weapons competently, but their religious studies interfere in them getting the kind of mastery more martial classes have.

Paladins...paladins are the chosen champions of a faith. In the books, they don't choose to become paladins, they /are chosen/. Their powers come from divine favor, and can be taken away like nothing should they displease their deity. They train extensively in combat (granting them full BAB, martial weapon prof, and d10 hp) but not to the level of mastery of a fighter. Instead, they learn to channel their blessings into their battles, bearing divine wrath in their blade (smite evil), infusing it with holy power (bless weapon and holy sword), shattering the magics of wizards and clerics of rival faiths thought their god's power (break enchantment and dispel magic).

Both classes possess healing power, but it's because of their divine link. The reason those heals are Conjuration is because they are effectively drawing out a portion of their god's life force. Giving how much there is, and the rate of regeneration, it's pretty much unnoticable to the god, but they're quite capable of revoking it at a moment's notice, and stripping the divine caster of all their magic. A wizard is capable of healing wounds too, but the school is Necromancy, and the life force has to come from somewhere...either the wizard themselves (The name of that spell is Blood Bridge, where the wizard transfers wounds from the target to themselves) or a 'donor'. It's also possible to use a Transmutation effect to stabilize someone, altering their flesh and bones to prevent futher blood loss, but it's no comparison to divine healing.

Druidic magic is special in that regard, as it draws upon the ambient power of nature, and magnifies the body's own healing ability to levels that would make a troll feel silly and lame. It's the only form of magical healing where the energy doesn't come from some entity.

And yes, in theory, a wizard could make a deal with some powerful outsider to conjure away their life force as healing spells. But it'd be expensive to convince them, and the outsiders that are powerful enough for that...it's much better to just conjure the whole outsider, so they can use their SLA heals at no cost...unless, of course, you're masquerading as a cleric for some reason.

mezzorco
11-08-2014, 09:24 AM
Well written post

You make fair arguments. WotC thinks pretty much like you, indeed in D&D 5 something has changed.

For example, cleric now gets only light and medium armor proficiency, not heavy. On the other hand, sorcerers and wizards now have d6, while cleric still has d8.

Furthermore, sorcerers and wizards can use simple weapons properly, as you would expect. No more half bab compared to martial classes.

In d&d 5 many things are how they should be. You can easily think about a toon and then build it accordingly.