Learning Spells vs. Learning Fighting Styles

For the purpose of this blog post, a “fighting style” is a combat-related martial ability you can learn, such as Power Attack, Combat Expertise, Dodge, or an actual fighting style feat from Ultimate Combat such as Snake Style. And a “spell” is… a spell, just like what you think it means in PF/D&D (fireball, magic missile, and so on).

(Update September 23, 2014: If you like this post and where these ideas are going, please check out the kickstarter for my Five Moons RPG, which uses these ideas. Thanks!)

Learning Wizard Spells

In 1st edition AD&D, it was expensive and time-consuming for a wizard to learn spells.
A wizard’s main ways of getting new spells were (costs are according to Unearthed Arcana, fuzzed a bit by my memory):
* Copying spells from other wizards (usually 1 for 1 plus a fee to the other wizard).
* Copying a spell from a scroll or spellbook, and the cost is spell level x 100 gp.
And writing a new spell into your spellbook takes 1 day per spell level.
In 2nd edition AD&D, it was expensive and time-consuming for a wizard to learn spells. You didn’t automatically get any new spells known when you leveled up (although the DM might grant you some, if you were on friendly terms with your former teacher or wizard school).
A wizard’s main ways of getting new spells were (costs are a bit fuzzed by my memory):
* Paying another wizard to copy a spell from their spellbook (cost decided by the GM).
* Copying spellbooks looted from enemy wizards, and the copying costs spell level x 100 gp.
* Copying scrolls looted as treasure, and the copying costs spell level x 100 gp (plus the scroll is destroyed).
 —
In 3rd edition D&D, a wizard’s main ways of learning new spells are:
* Getting 2 spells known every time they leveled up, for free.
* Paying another wizard to copy a spell from their spellbook (cost is spell level x 100 gp to copy the spell, plus a spell level x 50 gp fee to the other wizard).
* Copying spellbooks looted from enemy wizards (spell level x 100 gp to copy the spell).
* Copying scrolls looted as treasure, (spell level x 100 gp to copy the spell, and the scroll is destroyed).
And writing a new spell into your spellbook takes 24 hours.
In Pathfinder, a wizard’s main ways of getting new spells are:
* Getting 2 spells known every time they leveled up, for free.
* Paying another wizard to copy a spell from their spellbook (cost is spell level squared x 10 gp to copy the spell, plus a spell level x 50 gp fee to the other wizard).
* Copying spellbooks looted from enemy wizards (spell level squared x 10 gp to copy the spell).
* Copying scrolls looted as treasure, (spell level squared x 10 gp to copy the spell, and the scroll is destroyed).
And writing a new spell into your spellbook takes 1 hour per spell level.
Note that “spell level squared x 10 gp” is less than “spell level x 100 gp” for any spell level 0 to 9.
So in various iterations of the game, adding new spells to a wizard’s spellbook has become faster and cheaper. And there’s no limit to how many spells a wizard can learn.

Learning Fighting Styles

In 2nd edition AD&D, the core game (PH, DMG, MM) had no rules for learning fighting styles, so we can skip that.
In 3rd edition D&D, a fighter’s main ways of learning new fighting styles is:
* Regular feats, gained at level 1, 3, 6, 9, and so on, for free.
* Class bonus feats, such as the fighter bonus combat feats at level 1, 2, 4, 6, and so on, for free.
And that’s it.
In Pathfinder, a fighter’s main ways of learning new fighting styles is:
* Regular feats, gained at level 1, 3, 5, 7, and so on, for free.
* Class bonus feats, such as the fighter bonus combat feats at level 1, 2, 4, 6, and so on, for free.
* And a fighter can swap out bonus combat feats at 4th, 8th, 12th, and so on, for free.
* And, starting in Ultimate Campaign, you can use downtime to retrain feats you don’t like (similar to the fighter ability to replace combat feats), but it takes 5 days and costs 50 gp x character level.
And that’s all she can do (barring archetypes that grant more feats, certain favored class abilities that increase your number of combat feats, and so on).
So between D&D and PF, learning new fighting styles has become slightly faster (in terms of the rate of acquiring feats when you level up). But there is still a hard limit to how many fighting styles a character can learn.

Comparing Wizards to Fighters

A 6th-level wizard (assuming 15 Int, and they haven’t acquired additional spells from scrolls or other wizards, and ignoring cantrips, and they always use their 2 free spells per wizard level to learn spells of the highest-level spells they can learn) knows 9 1st-level spells, 6 2nd-level spells, and 4 3rd-level spells. That wizard can cast 4 1st-level, 4 2nd-level, and 2 3rd-level spells per day. This means on Monday the wizard could prepare one set of spells, and on Tuesday they can prepare a bunch of different spells, with almost no overlap between the two sets of spells. It’s almost like the wizard is able to rebuild himself from day to day, as if he were two different characters. If he’s learned additional spells from spellbooks or scrolls, he might have enough spells known to “rebuild” himself as if he were three different characters. Or four, or five, and so on, if he’s learned a lot of new spells.
A 6th-level fighter has 3 regular feats (perhaps plus 1 more if she’s human) and 4 fighter bonus feats, for a total of 8 feats. It doesn’t matter if her Str is 8 or 18, that’s how many feats she has. On Monday, the fighter has her 8 feats. On Tuesday, she has her same 8 feats. And so on for Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and forever. If the character focuses on archery and is forced into melee, she’s out of luck. If she’s focused on mounted combat and she’s separated from her mount, she’s out of luck. If she’s longsword-focused and she has to fight a creature immune to slashing weapons, she’s out of luck. She could spend some of her precious feats on a “backup” strategy, but that has the net effect of making her less effective at her primary strategy (compare this to a wizard, who has a plethora of spell slots and could have one left open, or a “backup” spell prepared, or a wand or scroll with a rarely-used but handy-in-some-fights spell, and none of these reduce the effectiveness of the wizard’s main spellcasting).
The wizard’s spell selection lets him adjust his strengths and weaknesses as needed to deal with the foes he expects to encounter. The wizard can even leave spell slots open for quickly preparing other spells in response to unexpected threats.
The fighter’s feat selection is fixed, except when she can swap bonus combat feats at level 4, 8, 12, and so on, or if the GM uses the downtime system and allows the fighter to spend time and gold to retrain feats. And because most feats are in feat chains requiring earlier feats as prereqs, and because you can’t retrain or swap a feat you’re using as a prereq, that really limits what feats a higher-level fighter can retrain or swap.
(Yes, abilities like weapon training give a fighter a bit more flexibility, but that doesn’t help a Dodge/Mobility/Spring Attack fighter learn how to be a TWF/ITWF/GTWF fighter or an Improved Unarmed Strike/Scorpion Style/Gorgon’s Fist/Medusa’s Wrath fighter… without unlearning things she already knows.)
In other words, the wizard is a highly flexible class, and the fighter is a very restricted class. The wizard becomes more flexible over time, and the fighter becomes more restricted over time. (Other martial classes have the same problem as the fighter, of course.)

What Fighters *Should* Get

Wizards can keep learning new spells at minimal gp and time cost, and learning a new spell doesn’t require them to unlearn the spells they already know.
Fighters can’t learn new fighting styles, except at specific levels or at a significant gp and time cost, and even then it requires them to unlearn some fighting styles they already know.
But fighters should be able to learn new fighting styles without having to unlearn the fighting styles they already know. That would help get rid of the high/low flexibility disparity between wizards and fighters.
Just as wizards can learn a new spell by studying another wizard’s spellbook, fighters should be able to learn a new fighting style by studying another character’s style of fighting (or even a creature, like watching how a snake fights in order to learn Snake Style). And just as wizards can learn spells from treasure in the form of spellbooks or scrolls, fighters should be able to learn fighting styles from treasure in the form of “fighting manuals” or something similar.
This learning/training doesn’t need to be fast; the downtime system’s 5-day rule is pretty reasonable for learning a first-tier (no prerequisites) feat. (I think the rules for learning/scribing wizard spells are probably faster than they need to be, too.) Perhaps fighters should be able to learn combat feats faster than other classes do. Or perhaps there is a feat that makes you a fast learner, or a fast teacher.
In any case, “Project Pentagon” has rules that allow martial characters to learn more fighting styles feats.
Project Pentagon cover sketch by Gerald Lee

Project Pentagon cover sketch by Gerald Lee

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26 thoughts on “Learning Spells vs. Learning Fighting Styles

  1. While I agree with you doesn’t this fix it self sort of with carrying different weapons. Yes a fighter may focus on using a sword but if he encounters something immune to slashing damage switch to his secondary weapon say a mace that does bludgeoning damage.

    Effectively the number of weapons a fighter carries allow for the variety that a wizard has with spells. More so he can switch faster by dropping one weapon and pulling out another. A wizard at minimum has to take an hour to prepare a new spell if he doesn’t have the right ones prepared.

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    • Using the 6th-level fighter as an example, if she has Weapon Focus (longsword) and Weapon Specialization (longsword), and she has to switch to a mace, she’s worse off using that mace (–1 to attack, –2 to damage) than she is with her longsword. And assuming she chose “heavy blades” as her 4th-level weapon group for her fighter training class ability, when she uses a mace (hammer group) she’s also not getting the +1/+1 from weapon training. When she has to switch weapons, she is worse off. And this disparity grows the more levels she has and the more feats she invests into longswords.

      Frex, if she’s level 12, she probably also has Greater Weapon Focus (longsword) and Greater Weapon Specialization (longsword), which increase her longsword attack roll by an additional +1 and her longsword damage roll by an additional +2 (so using a mace puts her at –2 to attack and –4 to damage relative to her longsword). And although at level 9 she gets a second weapon group for weapon training (and could choose “hammers” for her back-up mace weapon), her heavy blades bonus increases by +1/+1 at that point, so using a mace is still –1/–1 compared to her longsword. And at 12th level she has 108,000 gp worth of gear, of which about 35k is invested in weapons, 35k in armor, and 35k in misc; 32k gets you a +4-equivalent weapon, so she probably has longsword maxed out to be something really cool (like a +2 flaming keen shock longsword, with maybe a +1 heavy mace as her backup weapon), and so using anything other than that cool longsword means she’s worse off than normal.

      By comparison, when the 6th-level wizard encounters a creature that’s immune to fire, instead of casting fireball for 6d6 fire damage, he casts lightning bolt for 6d6 damage. And if he’s a blaster wizard, he probably has Spell Focus (evocation), which makes the DCs of both spells better (whereas the fighter’s Weapon Focus only makes the attack bonus of one specific type of weapon better). If blasting isn’t the solution, he can use deep slumber, or hold person, or slow, and if his opponent is immune or resistant to magic, he can buff his allies with haste, or guard himself with blink or displacement, or escape with fly or gaseous form… and all of these options are equally as powerful as the option to use fireball. And the wizard has enough spell slots that he could have these ready in the same combat, or can spend a move action to pull out a scroll with the needed spell–just as fast as the fighter dropping her primary weapon to draw her secondary weapon… plus, the wizard doesn’t have to worry about her primary “weapon” being left behind or stolen if they flee the room.

      In other words, all of the wizard’s backup 3rd-level attack spells are just as good as his primary 3rd-level attack spell, but the fighter’s backup melee attack is clearly worse than her primary melee attack.

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      • And that is why Weapon Focus and all of its children were mistakes. It made weapon switching and treasure options worse for the sake of a game balance hack.

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    • As the author of the brawler class, I like it very much, and I think it helps that class stay competitive against casters.
      However, I think it still makes sense that martial classes should be able to learn more “fighting styles” by training or studying, just as wizards can learn new spells.
      Actually, what I’ve thought about doing is having a basic version of a combat option and a trained version of a combat option. Like how there’s the fighting defensively action (–4 on attacks, gain +2 dodge to your AC) and the more-efficient Combat Expertise feat (trade –1 on attacks for +1 dodge to your AC, scaling up by –1/+1 to each as your BAB increases). Many people have suggested that there should be a non-feat version of Power Attack (or that Power Attack shouldn’t be a feat), and I agree. So there could be “basic combat tactics” that probably wouldn’t scale, “trained combat tactics” which are better than the basic version and might scale a little bit, and feats that improve those trained tactics even further with scaling.

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      • Or perhaps the feats are a “perfect” version of those abilities that you can only use X/day (or draw upon a resource pool). So we’d have something like this:
        Basic Fighting Defensively: Take a –4 on your attack rolls to gain a +2 dodge bonus to your AC until your next turn.
        Trained Fighting Defensively: Take a –2 on your attack rolls to gain a +2 dodge bonus to your AC until your next turn.
        Perfect Fighting Defensively: [Either X/day or expending resources] Take a –2 on your attack rolls to gain a +4 dodge bonus to your AC.

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  2. Interesting.

    You brought up the issue of providing more rewards for fighters that grant them new abilities. Why not provide magic weapons or weapon attachments that enable some kind of special attack? After using the weapon for awhile, the fighter learns how to perform it themselves, possibly replacing an existing fighting style in the process. Alternatively, maybe a way to learn new styles from elders. A frequent trope of growing warriors in fiction is the hero learning a new technique from a mentor in order to take out a previously undefeated foe.

    I think another issue is that spells give spellcasters new things to do whereas most fighting styles simply give numeric bonuses to what the fighter has been doing since 1st level.

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    • Well, overall I want characters in this game to rely less on magic items than they do in D&D/PF, although the idea of “using this magic item allows you to eventually learn how to do it yourself” is pretty cool.
      And yes, I agree with your last assessment that fighting styles just give you numerical bonuses to the same old things, instead of giving you new abilities.

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      • Yeah, less reliance on Magic items is a good thing.The idea of items complimenting what you can do, or having abilities of their own that can do “Cool stuff” is good. Such as a Flaming sword allows you to make [Fire]-type attacks, and has a special ability to billow smoke for concealment, escape, or maybe a cone of smoke that blinds foes can be cool unto themselves.

        I’m also rather cool with the idea of a “Gadgeteer” type character, who’s class features/abilities are based on swag. Whether they’re like your batman-Ironman to even Marvel-Thor/Lion-O/He-Man like deal.

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  3. Speaking of old fighting styles from the 1E/2E era, Oriental Adventures had all the martial arts that you could learn. I remember loving this system back in the day. I don’t have OA handy in front of me (it’s packed away somewhere deep) to reminisce about specific mechanics though.

    One thing I do like about the fighter “locking in” to their feats is that if you’re the kind of casual or semi-casual player who likes to play fighters, your two-weapon fighter feels distinctively different than your 2-handed fighter who feels distinctively different than your disarm/trip maneuver fighter (usually). For some of my players, this is what keeps their fires burning for the game – a chance to play a different fighter than they played last campaign. If fighters can simply morph into another fighter in a morning, that takes away some of the replayability of the game. I believe this is a key difference between games like Diablo 2 and Diablo 3 that have affected it’s longevity as Diablo 3 lets anyone pretty much redo their character at any point, whereas Diablo 2 felt like you were making a commitment and developing a certain character. You’d have an ice sorceress in one slot and your fire sorceress in the other.

    I’d think that a mechanic like this might make sense if the fighter had core mechanical benefits that weren’t swappable that would synergize with certain feat styles. This would give players a sense that their fighter is really a 2H fighter and even though he starts a day perhaps swapping some 2H feats for sword & shield, he knows deep down that he’s really a 2H fighter. This would continue to give players some incentive to keep rolling more fighters who truly specialize in certain techniques since their first rolled fighter couldn’t simply swap his feats in a morning.

    Something else to consider also would be limiting what the fighter could choose. I’d hate to see a table grind to a halt as a player decided they wanted to rummage through 20 books looking for feats. A wizard is at least limited to the spells they have in their spell book. Perhaps a fighter can pick “back up styles” every few levels, where those styles are the same styles a ranger uses. The fighter could swap his current feats as long as they were ones from one of these styles. In this case, it would at least limit this decision process to a list of a dozen feats versus hundreds (or thousands) as the # of feats get crazy over many supplements (not like that would be an issue for Project P, but you never know?!)

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    • I agree that there is some benefit to “this is my fighter’s primary focus, and I can do cool things that a different-focus fighter can’t do.” I think WOW accomplishes that nicely by giving each class a suite of common abilities, and then each specialization for that class comes with its own set of spec-specific abilities, and then you also have glyphs and talents that either provide new abilities or modify existing abilities.
      It’s just weird that the fighter has to choose “I’m TWF spec” and her off-spec is nonexistent or very weak, but the wizard can say “I’m a fire mage”… and still have an array of backup cold and electricity spells in case fire isn’t the best option. Part of that stems from the easy access to scrolls and wands, of course, but much is built right into the basic class mechanics.
      I like the idea of synergy with other abilities based on your “spec,” like a TWF using Power Attack, Mobility, or Mounted Combat has a special tweak for each of those feats, and the shield-bash fighter might have an entirely different set of tweaks for it. That could get really complex really fast, but a system like WOW’s talents (which let you pick which of your base abilities you want to alter) would keep the complexity under control).
      And yes, limited the fighter to a set of feats so each round doesn’t result in paging through multiple books for ideas (which is what summoning monsters does when you’re hunting for just the right special ability to defeat the current monster).

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      • I really like the idea of a fighter having a core specialty, since this means more mileage playing a game if your sweet spot is playing fighters, as you roll John the Two-Weapon Warrior and Larry the Polearm Master and Henry the Claymore-User. If a fighter can simply reinvent himself as each of those each morning, it means I don’t need to roll three fighters any more, and also you lose some verisimilitude as someone who spends years mastering one technique should have an advantage over someone who picked up some weapons that morning.

        Maybe 5e has the right mix of specialization and flexibility, or at least to draw inspiration from to get the best of both worlds.

        Fighters get to pick a “Fighting Style” at first level, which gives them a core bonus to how they fight in that style – archery, “tanking”, using a big 2H weapon, defending someone else, using a pair of weapons, keeping a free hand…

        Then they can later in a martial archetype (at 3rd level), one of which lets them pick 2 maneuvers from a list 16 (currently). This can range from lunging (like the Lunge feat) to Parry+Riposte (like an ACG swashbuckler) to disarming/tripping, etc.

        Finally, they can pick feats. The feats include those like “Dual Wielder” (which gives bonuses, quickdraw-type abilties, and opens up bigger weapons) or “Great Weapon Master” (which grants the oldschool 3.5 era Cleave-effect, or a -5/+10 super-Power Attack effect).

        Because there’s 3 different classes of “fiddly bits”, maybe the fighter gets one of these that’s swappable after a rest period, like spellcasters. They get some unswappable specialization (like a wizard who specializes in evocation or fire-magic) that synergies with the swappable resources when they prep those (which they usually would).

        I could buy into a system where the fighting style/archetype are selected and non-changeable (in the 5e case, it could be a 2H weapon style and a Warmaster archetype that gives trip/disarm). This mimics the wizard that picks a school specialty or a sorcerer that picks a bloodline (which isn’t changed later) but the “swappability” of spells.

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  4. Perhaps fighting styles could be tied to some degree to something like Story feats from Ultimate Campaign or Touchstone feats from 3.5? That might also further the project’s goal of “Reward roleplaying, adventuring, and social interaction instead of focusing on damage output in combat.” The reward would still be a mechanical benefit but tying it to roleplaying and story development would at least be more satisfying than “You leveled, here’s your bonus feat.”

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    • I’m fine with the idea of Touchstone Feats, or its like….if it’s not spending character resources to do so. Giving those out for free given certain conditions I think would be cool, though there are some issues I’m not 100% on off-hand.

      To guess, ye don’t want to make the extra rewards piddly & annoying to track the progress meter on, and the reward itself. It can also have the problem that if certain rewards are good for everyone, expect your players in many games to be doing that ASAP (if find that a feature, not a bug, then there you go). If it’s a repetitive task “Do this activity X times”, then it encourages grinding, which can be quite bad for the game (It works in video games because Single Player it’s just you doing the activity).

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  5. Personally, I think the answer is not necessarily “make fighters more flexible,” but instead, “make wizards have to play closer to a theme.” That’s a big change, but it’s more in line with most fantasy spellcasters, who tend to be “fire mages” or what have you.

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    • I think it’s both. All characters should have *some* versatility, that prevents your character from being completely useless in some situations. Right now it’s just skewed heavily in favor of the wizard and against the fight.
      (Unstated in this article is the fact that the cleric is even better off than the wizard because the cleric isn’t limited to the spells he carries in a spellbook… he has instant access to every new not-god-specific book the GM allows into the campaign.)

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      • Which is another weird flavor thing – if anything, you’d expect the cleric of the God of Fire (or whatever) to ONLY have spells related to that portfolio.

        But sure, versatility is good. It’s just a question of how to realistically portray the situation of “the Judo Master knows how to do other martial arts pretty well, too” without making it simply “The Judo Master is, coincidentally, also a master of All Other Martial Arts, Even Though Nobody Alive Could Realistically Do That.”

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      • Yep. But D&D and PF don’t work that way: the cleric of the fire god isn’t “I have a lot of fire spells,” he’s “I have the Fire domain, so I have ONE guaranteed fire spell at each spell level.” Woo. :p
        And yes, your know-it-all-judo master is a conceptual problem (and something I argued against in 4E, where if there’s something that doesn’t relate to combat, such as being a blacksmith, your character can just do it… even if that means your character is a master blacksmith because there’s no reason not to be… even if that means every PC in the group is a master blacksmith, master actor, master painter, and master guitarist).

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      • ” you’d expect the cleric of the God of Fire (or whatever) to ONLY have spells related to that portfolio.”
        I’ve always liked the idea of Clerics more resembling their god(s) concept/ideals, and FantasyCraft “Priest” Class was cool idea for that (least conceptually).

        I agree w/SKR on the notion of the Judo Master being a problematic character concept, as after awhile, Action Heroes know all kinds of MA’s. Which, by 6th+ equivalent, you’re very much more in supernatural territory, so REALIZARM martial Arts doesn’t really have a place anymore (nor should it, though I’m fine with it upgrading into more Supernatural like powers).

        Lastly Eric, if you want a SKR justificaiton, remember that we discard reality when it gets in the way of “rule of cool” (said in his crossbow article).

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  6. This is a great idea. I look forward to reading through Project Pentagon, and hopefully getting a chance to play some games using it. I am interested in taking some of your ideas for fighting style progression and finding a way to house rule them into my Pathfinder campaign, giving the fighter and monk more options. They’re only at level 2 right now, so they hold their own. But the other players are using a druid, a wizard and a cleric, so I’m afraid of the monk and fighter getting overshadowed a bit in the future. My plan has been to put more magic items in the game that would mostly benefit the fighter and monk, but I don’t want the others to feel like they aren’t finding anything cool for their characters. Having a mechanic that improves the usefulness of fighters and monks at high levels is ideal.

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  7. Pingback: Five Moons RPG: Races, Classes, and Levels | Sean K Reynolds

  8. “Perhaps fighters should be able to learn combat feats faster than other classes do. ”
    Yes, I fullly support that Martial Type characters should in fact have the edge of learning things faster than the spellcasters. The game should have more things that empower warrior types, as can always find a way to make the spellcasters catch up later, if it genuinely becomes a problem (too long have the spellcasters reigned!!)

    Such as Warriors should have a better action economy, where spellcasters cast slower, and likely need someone to protect them so they can get their big spell off, before someone beats them to it (quite literally, and its sorta fitting too). Warriors should totally be able to block dragons breath with a shield, better defenses when prone, & get up from such a condition much easier than casters. If a Caster can summon monsters, they should not be at the Warrior types capability, Enchantment buffs should scale better/faster on warriors types so they’re encouraged to do that. Hell, if you’re doing a general “X slot system, don’t care where it goes” instead of a specific orifice system, then make it where Martial-type characters get more of them than the casters do.

    I also support the idea that “Wizard” notion of a class should split into more specific types of spellcasters more fitting in Fantasy Fiction. So less “Wizard & Archivist”, and more “Beguiler, Duskblade/Spellsword, Elementalist/Evoker/Warmage? and so on.

    I really do hope Warrior-type characters abilities will be level appropriate in comparison to the spellcasters. I really liked the idea in the Stone Giant statblock, of the implication that Warrior types would get abilities like these: “Warriors usually have the following abilities: Berserk (transfer), Melt
    Stone, Shape Stone, Speak With Stone, Stone Armor (absorb, transfer).”, and less “Combat Expertise is kinda better now”. ALSO most especially, that Warrior-types will be designed to do more than combat, as in a game about fighting stuff, they’re not really unique in that regard and need to be able to contribute in problem-solving scenarios as well.

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  9. Pingback: Five Moons RPG: Retraining… and Reshaping | Sean K Reynolds

  10. It’s nice to see the issue addressed with such clarity. Another thing that really got to me about wizard versatility and fighter straight jackets was that although fighters were limited to feat trains, wizards pick up a spell and go. So you have a wizard who’s never touched a fire spell in his life suddenly learn the most powerful fire spell around. There’s needs to be no previous learning for the wizard.

    Seeing the history, I can see the difficulty of implementing it in the early editions (Higher cost of scribing, less guarantee of wealth, slower progression, chance to fail learning a spell at all if you could even find it), but in its current iteration I don’t see why not.

    With 3.5/PF we’ve got 9 versions of the same spell (Summon Monster) and one could simply take the 9th level version without touching the other 8.

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