Ep. 10 Flavoring Magic for Players and DMs

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How does magic work?  What makes a wizard different from a sorcerer?  Eric and Philip try to answer these questions and more as they dive into the arcane classes and try to differentiate how the magic works.

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  1. One idea for the Warlock that’s a little far outside the usual D&D realm would be treating him like the Summoner class from Final Fantasy. Instead of just shooting a fireball, an insubstantial demonic (or elemental) spirit creature claws its way up from the ground, then throws its arms out in an explosion of flame. Instead of just casting Charm Person, a glowing fairy flickers into existence and drizzles glittering dust over their head. When you Dimension Door, a misty spirit rises and wraps you in its robe, then evaporates like mist, taking you with it.

    I’m not suggesting using the actual summoned beasts from FF, but a warlock player could create a sort of cast of characters appropriate to their patron, with each one covering a number of spells (for example, the shadowy spirit that controls Dimension Door might resemble a grim reaper, and also be the actor for Circle of Death, Vampiric Touch, Ray of Enfeeblement, and Hex). That seems most appropriate to the Infernal or Archfey patron but I could see it being made to fit some of the others.

  2. You see, I’m going to have to disagree with your views on the different Arcane casters.

    I view Wizards as more mathematicians rather than scientists. They study precise formulae that they know work in a specific way, There are advancements made in the field every now and then, which is why I actually really like your idea about the Wizard being able to develop a custom spell/line of spells. But the key feature that I really identify with wizards is repeatable, reliable results that anyone could do, given time and practice (and that certain amount of innate talent).

    Sorcerors have a lot more flair and native understanding of magic, I feel. It’s like the difference between learning to fly with a computer game and flying an actual plane. Yes, they’ll both teach you how to fly, but one IS flying, if that makes any sense. Which is a major reason that I like that only sorcerors get metamagic – only they have that intuitive connection to magic that they can FEEL it and are able to adjust it on the flow.

    Warlocks are like the guys who walk into an exam with cheatsheets written on their ankles and forearms. They have access to this limitless arcane might, but they didn’t really do the work so much as crib the other guys’ work (the other guy, of course, being the Patron). So they don’t really know the work behind the mathematical equations like the wizards do, they just know that if they point somewhere and think FIRE that a fireball will appear.

    Just my 2 coppers.

    • That’s why they gave Sorcerers metamagic, yes. You’re not carefully working out the formulae to modify a spell; that’s developing a new (but related) spell. Metamagic is seat-of-the-pants spellcasting, altering a spell on the fly by pure instinct.

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