Monday, December 18, 2017

Hopes/Worries of Removing Spell Learning Limits in Felltower

Here is what I'm hoping will and won't happen with the removal of existing spell learning limits in my DF game.

I hope that . . .

- Wizards are able to diversify more effectively, so each wizard isn't just a single-college (or worse, single attack form) specialist.

- Wizards are able to address more utility situations without undermining their main specialty (in other words, you won't need to focus on "utility" in order to have basic Meta-spells, Protection and Warning, and Knowledge spells).

- Wizards remain focused on being a better wizard, not just a more diverse wizard* (in other words, the goal doesn't become "buy every spell that could be useful" but remains "buy what you need to be effective.")

In short, I hope that Wizards leverage this to diversify without diffusing their power, and focus on overall improvement over getting a wide variety of spells "just in case."

I worry that . . .

- play will grind to a halt as Wizards want to double-check all of their spells to make sure one of them isn't the solution to this problem. Or some combination of spells across all casters ("If you cast A, and I cast B, and then before A runs out you cast C, and the cleric casts D, and then the subject goes and does X, and Y, and Z before spell A needs to be maintained . . . ") is busted out in the face of all obstacles.

- that easy access to spells means players will want to try spell-based solutions to, well, everything, because it's only a session or two or three to get the spells needed (". . . and if that doesn't work, I can learn spells E, F, G, H, and I during downtime and try spell I as well!")

- Wizards will feel pressured into maximizing their spell diversity instead of maximizing their effectiveness, or pressured into learning spells in order to test a spell-based puzzle solution theory.

- cutting the amount of time needed to learn high-prereq spells will mean those spells will be short-term acquisitions instead of long-term goals.

- Wizards become near-clones of each other in terms of their spell lists.**

- Wizards will be less prone to improve a handful of spells to very useful levels because those points are being used to learn new spells. Ditto on improving IQ and Magery, both of which should really go up ASAP and As High As Possible on DF Wizards in my games.

In short, I hope this makes wizards less laser-focused on a sub-niche ("I do fireballs. If it's immune to fire, the rest of you guys need to handle it, I'm useless.") but neither undercuts overall wizard effectiveness (IQ 15, Magery 6, ER 10 guys with 100 points in ~80 spells instead of IQ 16, Magery 6, ER 20 guys with 50 points in ~40 spells) doesn't lead to Win Button Hunting ("If I just learn enough spells, I'll find the one I need to solve problems in a single roll) either in session or between them.

We'll see if that happens. I figure making it clear what I hope for and worry about might help players of Wizards make more informed decisions.

* One of my players, before this rule change# used to spend 5 points earned in a good session as follows: one new spell [1], one point of Energy Reserve [1], and either save the last; buy a perk; or improve an existing spell that was on the margin for a cost discount. Usually the first. This was a good example of expanding spell ability but also maximizing caster ability - most casters give out in a fight or lack utility in a fight because of lack of energy, not lack of spell selection.

# Which he specifically asked for, FWIW.

** Which happened in all of my previous games, slight diversity in types of Missile or Area spells not withstanding.

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