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    Adept Greytalker

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    Sun Sep 16, 2007 10:15 pm  
    4e Wizards Will Be, Different...

    Welp,

    They finally dropped some info on what Wizards will be like in 4e... get ready for an expansion of Monte Cooke's Magister class from Arcana Evolved. The short of it, wizards use 4 different focuses in various combos to emphasis their magic. If they are without a focus they can still use magic, but a reduced ability.

    Here is the link and the text:
    http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/drdd/20070917a&authentic=true

    For those unwilling to sign up at WotC, here is the article by Bruce Cordell:

    Quote:

    Magic saturates the world and all the extraordinary realms beyond the world. Magic is an intrinsic force present in literally all things. Magic transforms and alters the natural world, sometimes actively and suddenly, other times subtly and over long centuries.

    This arcane energy source is difficult to understand and even tougher to master. Those who do so through years of study, practice, and apprenticeship to accomplished masters are called wizards.

    Wizards wield arcane magic. Wizards recognize reality for what it is: a thin veneer of structure supported and energized by a force that is ultimately changeable, to those who know its secrets. Thus wizards research esoteric rituals that allow them to alter time and space, hurl balls of fire that incinerate massed foes, and wield spells like warriors brandish swords. They call upon arcane strikes, power words, and spells to unleash raging torrents of cold, fire, or lighting, confuse and enthrall the weak-minded, or even turn invisible or walk through walls.

    What sets wizards apart from others who attempt to wield arcane magic are wizardsí unique implements.

    Most people recognize the four classic tools associated with wizardcraft: The Orb, Staff, Tome, or Wand.

    Each implement focuses magic of a particular class slightly better than the wizard would be able to accomplish bare-handed. Thus wizards are rarely without wand and staff, orb and tome, or some other combination thereof.

    A wizardís orb grants better access to powers of terrain control and manipulation (such as clouds and walls), as well as retributive effects, detection and perception effects, and invisibility.

    The staff is best suited to powers that forcefully project powers from the wizard, such as lines of lightning and cones of fire; however, a staff also has resonances with effects related to flight and telekinesis (pushing, pulling, or sliding creatures or objects).

    A tome is tied to powers that reduce or neutralize an enemyís capability in combat in some fashion, whether by slowing the foe, dazing, or through some other fashion. Tomes are also often important for spells of teleportation, summoning, shapechanging, and a few physical enhancement effects.

    The wand is a perennial favorite, as it is an ideal conduit for powers that create effects well away from the wizardís physical position, effects which include explosions of fire, bursts of cold, and other long-range effects that can affect several enemies at once. In addition, personal protections and countermagic effects may lie in wands.

    Thus a wizard without an implement is like a slightly near-sighted man with glasses; the man can still see, but without his glasses, he canít read the road sign across the way. In like wise, while wizard powers are associated with a particular implement, a wizard need not possess or hold a given implement to use its associated power. For instance, a wizard can cast the wand spell cinder storm even if he doesnít own, has lost, or is not holding a magic wand. However, holding the associated implement grants a benefit to the wizardís attack that is just like the benefit the warrior gains when attacking an enemy with a magic sword.


    Needless to say this will have an impact on how Greyhawk deals with wizards... definitely thinking that if I ever run a 4e game, I am going to advance the time line and retcon some stuff...

    Bryan Blumklotz
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    Mon Sep 17, 2007 12:45 am  

    In terms of flavor, I don't have anything against this change. Arcanists are often portayed as channeling their powers through some sort of focus. Dragon once published a set of rules about how wizards could get more out of their staffs and use them as alternate familiars. (Issue #338 if you're interested)

    But what does this mean for specialising in schools of magic? And what do sorcerers get? In terms of rules, I file this under "Wait and see".
    Master Greytalker

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    Mon Sep 17, 2007 6:08 am  

    I really wish WotC would stop jacking around and give us a little real information. But, since that's not likely to happen, here's my opinion:

    At first glance I suspect this might be a good design change. Wizards since 1e have suffered from a certain lack of playability due to the limitations on their powers. 3e/3.5e wizards are worse than 1e/2e wizards, IMO, and the fact that they've become the least popular class supports this assertion. A wizard who can still continue to function without having to run home after every battle to recharge his spells is a truly useful idea.

    HOWEVER - once again WotC is giving us a change that is (relatively) unnecessary and that is easily overcome by simply learning to use the class properly. Even a 3.5e wizard who makes proper use of scrolls/potions/wands can last the duration of an adventure without running home. This change, IMO, is coming in response to the new crop of players who don't have the imagination or the skill to use the rules that exist to their full potential, so WotC has "dumbed down" the game for them. Again.

    Don't get me wrong - as much as I love Vancian magic, I suspect this major design change is a good thing. I expect it to make wizards much more useful characters and much more on par with the other classes. It makes me a little sad for reasons of nostalgia, but I'll get over it.
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    Mon Sep 17, 2007 7:55 am  

    I like this change to the extent it is used for flavor and to boost a wizard's casting. I don't like it if it assumes a level of incompetence on the part of a wizard if they don't have their implements, which I think the quote suggests.

    GH wizards have never been tied to any implements. Maybe its a minor thing but I don't see retconing this, nor do I think its merits a change to the way wizards work in GH. I am really starting to feel some sympathy for FR folks who are going to see that setting redone to fit 4e. Me. I'm really getting into being in a grognard state of mind. Cool

    With only scant months to go until support for 3x D&D virtually vanishes, I have started to feel a certain freedom, even elation, that my 3x collection will be "completed" - nothing more to buy - I've got it all (or at least all that I want). Its kind of like standing back from a job well done and admiring the work that has been completed. It feels good.

    This is not to say I won't try 4e and maybe adopt it; it is IMO simply too early to pass final judgment on a game that hasn't even been published yet. However, my initial inclination is to stick with 3x and this feeling of "completeness" only reinforces my inclination.

    No more integrating anything new into my game beyond the scads of 3x material I have already. No more anticipating new releases and worrying about how they might, could or should impact my game (I'm looking at you PHII and DMG II etc.). No more money flowing out of my wallet on a regular basis.

    Time to work with all the 3x material I already have. Time to appreciate a "finalized" rules set in all its abundance. More money to spend on other things - maybe some Dwarven Forge stuff, which has been a bit pricey given my other 3x purchases.

    Yup. There is definitely something to savor in this moment. I find my thoughts run to this, maybe with it coming on autumn and all, more than angst/anticipation about 4e. 4e will arrive in due course. For the moment, I'm definitely savoring 3X.
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    GVD
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    Mon Sep 17, 2007 9:25 am  

    Huh, it sounds like an interesting concept that shouldn't hurt anything. The first thing that sprung into my head sadly was Harry Potter. Then the second Gandalf and Saruman duelling with staves. Otherwise it could bring spellbooks out of the backpack and into active use. Maybe not so bad?

    As for FR's changes I am watching with restrained glee. The rivalry is like Red Sox/ Yankees (take your pick) so I can't totally feel sympathy for their plight since even if we have gone through so much adversity ourselves.
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    Mon Sep 17, 2007 5:13 pm  

    GVDammerung wrote:
    GH wizards have never been tied to any implements.


    Well...they always have been tied to spellbooks, in a way. And you could consider scrolls and such a form of implement, I suppose. Other than that, I'm with ya.

    Frankly, unless there's a whoooooole lot about this that they're not telling us (and there probably is), I can't see why this relatively minor change requires revamping an entire campaign setting. It just doesn't make sense.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Mon Sep 17, 2007 8:49 pm  

    Welp all,

    Evidently they posted an early version of the wizards article... here is the part that changed today:

    Quote:
    What sets wizards apart from others who wield arcane magic are wizardsí unique implements. Most people recognize the three most common tools associated with wizardcraft: the orb, staff, and wand.

    Any wizard can use an implement to increase the effectiveness of his spells. Just as a warrior gains a benefit when attacking an enemy with a magic sword, so does a wizard benefit from using a magic orb, staff, or wand with his spellcasting. In addition, each implement focuses magic of a particular discipline or tradition more effectively than the wizard would be able to accomplish otherwise. As a result, wizards are rarely without at least one of these tools.

    The orb is favored by the Iron Sigil and Serpent Eye traditions. Serpent Eye cabalists use orbs to focus powers of enchantment, beguiling, and ensnaring. The mages of the Iron Sigil, on the other hand, employ orbs to guard themselves with potent defenses when invoking spells of thunder or force.

    The staff is best suited to the disciplines of the Hidden Flame and the Golden Wyvern. Servants of the Hidden Flame wield fierce powers of fire and radiance through their staves. Golden Wyvern initiates are battle-mages who use their staves to shape and sculpt the spells they cast.

    The wand is a perennial favorite for wizards who favor accurate, damaging attacks. Emerald Frost adepts use wands to help channel powers of cold and deadly acidic magic, while Stormwalker theurges channel spells of lightning and force through their wands.

    A wizard without an implement is like a slightly near-sighted man with glasses: The man can still see, but without his glasses, he canít read the road sign across the way. Likewise, while wizard traditions are associated with a particular implement, a wizard need not possess or hold a given implement to use a power belonging to that tradition. For instance, a wizard belonging to the Hidden Flame order can cast the fire spell cinder storm even if he doesnít own, has lost, or is not holding a magic staff. But if he does have a magic staff, it aids the accuracy of his attack, and his mastery of the Hidden Flame technique allows him to deal more damage with the spell.


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    Bryan Blumklotz
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    Tue Sep 18, 2007 1:53 am  

    Each item functions like a power focus. If you have your special focus, all of your powers are top notch; if not they are slightly weaker(but still usable).

    Every wizard character can be connected to at least one (and often more or multiples of the above items), even if such items are not "signature items", so I don't see why anyone would feel the need to retconn any NPCs or advance a timeline because of it.

    Spells are rumored to also change to be designated by how many times they can be used in a given period of time, rather than using level slots at all. It is very possible that spell power levels will drop a bit, but in return the casting of them will be very versatile, though sometimes restricted depending on just how powerful they are in game terms. I wonder if these focus items will affect the types of spells they are keyed to with regard to how many times a spell can be cast in a given period of time.
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    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Tue Sep 18, 2007 1:54 am  

    Emerald Frost? Iron Sigil? Whu-?

    Is that flavor text, or are they replacing specialisation? Again, need more info before passing judgement, but I'll keep an eye on this.
    Master Greytalker

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    Tue Sep 18, 2007 2:25 am  

    At a game session this weekend one of my players, who was running a specialist Diviner, exclaimed loudly "oh no! Now I don't have any cool stuff to do," as he cast his last memorised spell. After we had all stopped chuckling he added, "Just as well I took 2 levels of Monk before going off to wizard school. Have this you Grimlock scum," whereupon he set about said humanoids with his fists and the game rumbled on.

    As bubbagump said, the rules are already there to overcome any possibility of a character running out of opportunities to participate in the session. In our campaign, wizards and clerics are no more likely to need to "recharge" than any other class.

    WOTC is being disingenuous, at best, when it claims that its rule changes will in some way enable us to do things that we couldn't before. It's all there in 3x if you want it. As for the changes to wizards in 4e; the phrase "the emperor's new clothes" springs to mind.
    Master Greytalker

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    Tue Sep 18, 2007 6:22 am  

    What he said^^^^.

    What's with the flavor text? Are they suggesting that wizards will have to belong to a particular organization or go to a specific school? How is all this going to affect the variety of spells available? Have I missed something?
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Tue Sep 18, 2007 8:20 am  

    mortellan wrote:
    As for FR's changes I am watching with restrained glee. The rivalry is like Red Sox/ Yankees (take your pick) so I can't totally feel sympathy for their plight since even if we have gone through so much adversity ourselves.


    Heh. Heh. Heh. Wink Yeah. Laughing

    DavidBedlam wrote:
    Emerald Frost? Iron Sigil? Whu-?

    Is that flavor text, or are they replacing specialisation? Again, need more info before passing judgement, but I'll keep an eye on this.


    This is news to me too. If one must belong to one of these groups to cast whatever spell in an optimal fashion, these organizations must be world spanning. I don't like that. Such would seem to demand a huge retcon as well. Again, I'm not sorry GH is sitting 4e out to this point.
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    Tue Sep 18, 2007 10:23 am  

    I read the orinigal article and I thought, "What a great idea! Arrange the different aspects of magic around specific foci that wizards can physically hold." Now, transmuters and illusionists and necromancers each have something in their flavor to make them unique (even if they're not exactly transmuters, etc, anymore).

    Then I read the edited version and my mind changes almost completely. First of all, what's with the corny names? Wouldn't your character rather call himself an "abujurer" than a "mage of Iron Sigil"? Less specific is cooler unless you pick the name for yourself, and as Bubba said names like these makes me feel like you have to be in a certain guild (which would have to span multiple worlds if they're in the Player's Handbook).
    Secondly, while three isn't much less than four, three's not nearly enough to cover all the different aspects of magic and make each feel important.
    Lastly, a tome is a cool implement! Why cut it out?

    Here's hoping against hope that the first version is closer to the one that gets published.
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    Tue Sep 18, 2007 12:16 pm  

    Its interesting.. Nothing that they've said about the rules sounds too bad, though if Cebrion's rumor means we are supposed to keep track of timers on every spell that could be a nuisance.

    But almost all the flavor text seems to be gratuitious changes and pretty thin soup on the interesting/creative side...
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    Tue Sep 18, 2007 7:09 pm  

    Yes, I suspect this is one of the mechanical changes I might be in favor of. I reeeeally like Vancian magic, but I'm open to a more workable system if 1) it provides as much versatility as previous additions, 2) it allows you to customize your character as you could in earlier additions, and 3) it is mechanically sound.

    I hate to admit it, but they might be onto something here.

    If those squirrelly designations involve membership in an organization, though....ugh!
    Adept Greytalker

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    Tue Sep 18, 2007 10:59 pm  

    Some Wag at the Enworld Forums posted an amusing image of the all-in-one focus made by the Swiss for 4e Wizards...

    http://www.enworld.org/showpost.php?p=3781005&postcount=1

    Enjoy,

    Bryan Blumklotz
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    Wed Sep 19, 2007 1:40 am  

    Humorous picture. Smile I give Wizards 2 years before something like this appears on D&DI or in a 4E splat book.
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    Wed Sep 19, 2007 1:53 am  

    Saracenus:

    That's pretty funny, I like that. The 4 in one arcane focus for all wizards, don't leave home without it.

    I have been thinking about the alterations in the wizard class and although I have no particular insight to add in regards to game mechanics, I will say this...

    My fourteen year old daughter who is a huge Harry Potter fan says that it sounds just like they took it out of the JK Rowlings book series. What is interesting is that with the little information they gave us, she already says she doesn't like it. I wonder how others of the younger audience will feel.

    I like the idea of a focus and of the different ideas or changes forthcoming in the game in which we have been enlightend upon, it is the one I am less opposed to at this point. I did not like the names however (they were to specific for general D&D, at least in name).

    I am not really opposed to wizards belonging to a school of some kind as that is more popular in my campaign (such as the University of Magical Arts in Greyhawk City), than someone who serves as an apprentice for some lonely wizard in who knows where land.

    If they go with a school of some sorts, I hope it is left pretty open ended for us to create or better yet, a type of magic (one of several) taught at such a school and is easily incorporated into the current higher educations of the magical establishments within Greyhawk.

    My primary purpose of this post was not to tell you what I think about the changes but rather to offer a potential way of incorporating the changes in the wizard class within a typical Greyhawk camapign.

    Here's my thought:

    Page 167, Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, subject Boccob:

    "He (Boccob) sees that Oerth's magic is declining and will eventually fade away; he combats this effect and suspects that Tharizdun is responsible."

    Here is the perfect opportunity to make good on this statement. If Tharizdun (or someone else) is toying with magic (perhaps arcane, or both arcane and divine) and they are weakening, wizards and other spellcasters are going to suffer some losses. Boccob recognizes this and now offers a new way of channeling arcane magic.

    The statement above is fairly vague and one could say that this is the beginning of how Tharizdun (or whoever) is affecting magic. They begin with arcane magic and at this point in time it only affects how wizards receive spells or work their magic. If we get significant changes to other arcane spelluser classes, these could get worked into the mix as well.

    In the campaign before the DM introduces this new wizard class and way of handling magic, the current version of wizards begins to suffer losses to spells, has a increased chance of spell failure, or whatever way the DM wants to introduce the magic loss.

    When the DM is ready to introduce the new wizard class (whether it be a 3.5 character reformated for 4th edition or a new character all together), they are sent along a big quest originating from Boccob to introduce his way of combating Tharizdun's actions, thus throughout game play, the 4th edition wizard replaces those of the previous edition.

    Now this suggestion may not be for a lot of people but I thought I would offer it as a possibility. Clearly one would want to put a significant amount of detail into the storyline but the end result would be fulfilling the
    quote from the Living Greyhawk Gazeteer as well as slowly bringing about the change within the game rather than simply saying "ok, things have changed for 4th edition, here are the new rules".

    Generally speaking, this concept could be applied to many of the other changes 4th edition will provide. For those DM's who want to make those changes and not automatically just make them without questioning the how's and why's, heres the opportunity.

    When I started my campaign about 8 years ago with the tail end of 2nd edition, I wanted to begin things with a world shattering event which would take many actual years of play to complete, so I'm covered quite well on making drastic changes (should I choose to go that route) to my campaign.
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    Wed Sep 19, 2007 2:05 am  

    I think this is a perfect explanation for the use of such tools. The names are cheesy and not Greyhawk specific though - who wants to volunteer to give the United Artificers of Irongate the job of giving some of these focii some proper Greyhawk names and origins? Happy
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    Wed Sep 19, 2007 2:07 am  

    Well, at this point we are constantly being told that 4.0 is in a near constant state of flux, so anything can change betwen now and the release date.

    Plus, remember the whole Points of Light thing? Well, if the Iron Sigil and whatnot and world spanning organisations, wouldn't that clash with the whole purpose of the points of light doctrine? So I guess that something will be altered in the future.
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    Wed Sep 19, 2007 6:05 am  

    Hello All,

    I am not sure if school in this case means a physical location or a school of magical style/philosophy. One is harder to retcon in the other is more... portable.

    I will bet its a combo of both. Some places/organizations are "known" for their style/philosophy while others are only connected by that style/philosophy and are practiced by sole practitioners that take on apprentices, you know, to pay the bills Smile.

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    Wed Sep 19, 2007 7:46 am  

    I suspect the schools/traditions given are to serve as examples for more inventive DM's and standards for those not inclined to come up with their own traditions. It looks like just another approach to specialization to me although they seem to be trying to, like Mort said, Harrypotterize (TM) it. Marketing is the thing and the kids love The Potter.

    Like everything else in all the previous editions if I don't like it I'll fudge it or adjust it to my own gaming style.

    I just wish they'd give us some concrete details on how this is going to be different than Vancian magic. We talking spell points, mana, what?
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    Wed Sep 19, 2007 9:38 am  

    smillan_31 wrote:
    I just wish they'd give us some concrete details on how this is going to be different than Vancian magic. We talking spell points, mana, what?


    I don't have the quotes in front of me right now, though I can dig them up later, it seems that spells will fall into 3 catagories.

    # At will

    # Per encounter

    # Per day (like the Vancian method)

    It was stated that using up all of your per day Vancian slot spells would be about 20% of a wizards power.

    Like I said, though, I'll see if I can't find those quotes again. I belive they were on the EN world 4e page.
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    Thu Sep 20, 2007 3:15 am  

    Well, that's the first bit of useful information about 4e that I've read, Michael. Finally, some meat on the bones. A duster to the fluff.

    Initial reaction to that is; spells at will, no problem; once per day, no problem; per encounter? Sounds a completely unjustifiable attempt to keep players involved in a game session they should have no problem being continually involved in anyway. All you need is...Ta Dah! An interesting set of characters and some good players to run them.

    Perhaps Wotc can release a book on how to achieve that.

    156 Page hardcover, of course
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    Thu Sep 20, 2007 3:42 am  

    Ragr wrote:


    156 Page hardcover, of course


    $39.95

    Laughing

    I'll see if I can't find those quotes for you today.
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