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Author Topic: Problem with high-level spells  (Read 831 times)

Offline outlander78

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Problem with high-level spells
« on: December 15, 2017, 02:41:38 PM »
Hi folks.

Since I was a young fellow, high level spells (7-9) have always given me a love/hate relationship with D&D.

Demihuman level limits block them from getting the cool spells, even the supposedly magical elves.

Humans can get there, but by the time they do, the game is somewhat broken - the risk of low-level gaming is mostly gone, and boredom sets in.  Many people espouse retiring characters somewhere between levels 9 and 14, nowhere close to level 8 and 9 spells!

This drives me crazy sometimes.

Have you folks ever seen a game or house rule that would fix this for me?  Some way of giving lower-level characters access to the highest-level spells, so that whatever level they bump their heads on doesn't deny them the cool end-game toys?

Does 3E fix this?
Please try my old school computer game (link) and tell me what you think.

Offline Jack Daniel

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Re: Problem with high-level spells
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2017, 04:01:56 PM »
3e makes it far, far worse.  High-level spells in 3e are so easy to throw around, with no drawbacks or costs, that high-level 3rd edition games are utterly dominated by wizards, clerics, and druids, and all the other classes are rendered totally useless.

The problem is, even in 0e, 1e, and 2e, high level spells are pretty much *the* reason that D&D isn't playable as a fantasy adventure game much above 12th to 15th level or so.  It either must transition to a game of large-scale wars and politics and intrigue, or else you're just going to have a broken game.  What Gary Gygax in a different context called "the weird wizard show".  And since most groups usually aren't interested in the politics and dominions thing, they just retire the characters and start again.  Because D&D's high level spells aren't really meant for regular adventuring play.

No official version of D&D really fixes this except maybe 4th edition, which has other problems making its own high-level endgame unplayable.  The only real choice is to use a version of the game with a different magic system.  I would personally recommend Beyond the Wall and Other Adventures, but that's not by any means the only choice that the OSR has come up with.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2017, 04:04:01 PM by Jack Daniel »

Offline Vile

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Re: Problem with high-level spells
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2017, 07:08:26 PM »
Well if you really want to have those spells in your normal-level campaign, there are lots of ways to do it via one-use magic items or one-off favours from patrons. I especially like those where the gift of magic isn't really a gift at all, but actually replaces a real reward! Raise dead is a classic, where it becomes a reward for carrying out a mission (which got your character killed in the first place, but hey, what's past is past). Or the grant of some great spell, but only for the purpose of carrying out a specific mission which would otherwise be too dangerous.

Offline outlander78

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Re: Problem with high-level spells
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2017, 09:01:17 AM »
Thanks for the replies.

I think I am going to use this:  http://www.necropraxis.com/2013/11/01/spell-dice/
Please try my old school computer game (link) and tell me what you think.