Tuesday, July 19, 2011

More on the Vancian Spell System

In coming up with a rationale for the Vancian system and why it's so prevalent in the D&D worlds.

In the context of Mystara and the Thyatian / Karameikos lands, there's one possibility I've thought of that doesn't preclude the existence of other magical systems: reliability.

Thyatia is characterized as a conquering empire, one that looks at the utility of all things -- including magic. It's arguable therefore that the Vancian magic system, with:
  • verbal, somatic, and material components;
  • spell books;
  • memory space requirements;
  • etc.
are actually the most reliable spell system in the world. It's a magic system that -- assuming that the target doesn't make any potential saving throws -- will work reliably.

You'll know if you've successfully memorized something or not. You'll always cast it successfully (assuming all components are doable) if uninterrupted in combat. You'll always know how many spells you've got with you and how many more you can cast that day!


  1. Please don't forget the Radiance magic of Glantri as an official alternate source of magic.
    --The Glantri magic academy, too, had interesting additions to D&D magic.

  2. Why yes! I was thinking about Glantri as a rationale that perhaps the 'standard way' was not the only way -- Glantri would be the showcase of other forms of magic, and variants on the existing 'popular' system.

    Of course, now I have to brush up on them as well.

  3. Haha, no worries! It's good to hear ideas on magic, and to know others are thinking along roughly the same lines. :D

    At least I know I'm not crazy! Or am I? :p

  4. I'm sorry, what were we talking about?

    ;D !

    I liked the faster or double spell-casting 'trick' the Glantri School taught, although I can't remember the operation at present. Something along the lines of what would become Metamagic in Ed.3.x of The Game.

    My favourite Point Based systems are the very similar Tunnels & Trolls, and separated by decade +, GURPS. Highly customisable.
    T&T's silly names are possibly attributable to informal military jargon in the field, 'pop smoke', 'puff the magic dragon', 'Willie Pete' grenades, etc.

    Rambling. :)

  5. It's a good thing I have a copy of Tunnels & Trolls somewhere.

    The variants of the D&D magic system I experienced (aside from D&D B/X and AD&D and 3.0) included the Runeweavers and Runesingers from Arduin which played with casting times and components. :)


That's my side of things. Let me know what you think, my friend.

Related Posts

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...