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  1. #1
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    I like most of what the BR team has done with the classes section but I
    have some issues with the Magician class. I`ll outline these in detail below.

    Flavor text - most of this I am happy with, except the part concerning
    races. Nowhere in 2e BR did dwarves become magicians. I think the BRCS doc
    should reflect consistency with the concept of the Magician being a nerfed
    Mage, and discourage Dwarven Magicians just like the doc discourages
    Dwarven true mages. Both are arcane magic which is something Dwarves don`t
    do in Birthright. I am kind of ambivalent towards halfling magicians - but
    at least I think the doc should say that they`re quite rare, because there
    is no mention of a halfling magician in the original BR products. P.48 of
    the Book of Magecraft states that only Humans can become magicians.

    Game Rules

    Hit dice - d6. WTF??? A higher hit die implies a "beefier" character.
    Magicians are bookworms just like wizards; why are they tougher? Magicians
    did not have a d6 hit die in 2nd edition. Why the power increase in 3e? I
    would change this back to a d4.

    Class skills - I like the expanded class skill list. This reflects the
    ability of 2e magicians to learn Rogue proficiencies. Only change I would
    suggest is that you add Pick Pockets as a class skill; in 3e this
    represents prestidigitation, which falls within the realm of Magician
    abilities, IMHO.

    Skill points/level - I like magicians getting 4/level. They study fewer
    types of spells, so have more time to practice skills.

    Weapon and Armor proficiency - I am happy with this overall but I would
    also add rapier proficiency to magicians, as it was an allowed proficiency
    for them in 2nd edition. This suggestion, like many of my other thoughts,
    is aimed at converting the magician as closely as possible between editions.

    BAB/Saves - identical to wizard. Looks good.

    Spontaneous Casting - a nice touch and not a significant power increase.
    Looks good.

    Special Ability - I like how the Special Ability progression has been
    nerfed from Travis Doom`s original conversion, in which it was possible for
    a magician to pick up more metamagic feats than a wizard (which didn`t make
    sense). Now it is equal to wizard, except magician has the OPTION of taking
    Spontaneous Spell, Cantrips, or Class Skill, which are all weaker than a
    metamagic feat and therefore not overpowering IMHO. One change I would make
    here is if the Magician picks up the class skill special ability, to let
    them choose 2 class skills rather than one. This brings the power of the
    special ability up to 1 feat (the Versatile feat lets you pick 2 skills).

    Spell Progression - I would prefer that the spell progression was exactly
    that of a Wizard, except the magician gets +1 bonus spell per level from
    Illusion or Divination. I understand why this was changed (the new Magician
    spell list) which incidentally is my primary objection to the new Magician
    class as written.

    New Spell List - This is my main problem with the class. As I see it the
    Magician spell list is basically the same as the Bard list, except it is
    expanded to include 7th-9th level spells. This is a good idea in principle,
    and I understand where you are coming from, but IMO the end result
    distracts significantly from the original Magician.

    The original magician was not designed to be "balanced" as a PC class.
    Arguably it was 2e`s first NPC class. The original magician was MEANT to be
    weaker in almost every way than a regular wizard; the only advantage it had
    was that you were a specialist in BOTH illusion and divination, but at a
    very high price.

    The BRCS doc`s incarnation of the Magician is SIGNIFICANTLY stronger
    relative to a wizard than the 2e magician was vis-a-vis the 2e wizard. The
    d6 HD, expanded skill list, extra skill points, wider variety of special
    abilities, and expanded spell list, all together, represent a very
    significant power increase.

    The biggest problem is the healing spells. In normal D&D 3e, it`s fine for
    a bard to have healing spells as magic is hardly rare. In a setting like FR
    especially, where you can buy healing wands by the truckload and there are
    18th level archmages begging for money on street corners, magic is hardly
    "fantastic" or "wondrous." In a setting like that, there is nothing
    "miraculous" about bringing people back from the brink of death merely by
    touching them and saying a prayer.

    In BR on the other hand, magical healing is a big deal and is the main
    reason the elves lost so hard to humans. Healing is the biggest advantage
    of clerics over mages. Why then, would that be such a big deal if elven
    bards/magicians could cast healing spells too?

    Furthermore, even in 2e, BR bards received a significant nerf compared to
    standard 2e bards. Considering the nature of arcane magic in BR, shouldn`t
    this be the case in 3e as well? If we are trying to be as faithful as
    possible to the original rules, shouldn`t the bard spell list be
    significantly reduced (especially to exclude healing spells?)

    Take it from another angle - the premise (which you may or may not agree
    with) that the magician was meant to be a lesser form of the wizard. The
    "poor man`s" wizard, if you will.

    How then, does that make sense, if the magician can perform magical
    miracles of healing and the wizard can`t? Wizards are supposed to be able
    to do everything a magician can do and more.

    Healing spells aside, the addition of charms and summoning spells to the
    bard/magician spell list represents a significant expansion of power
    relative to 2e BR bards and magicians. In 2e magicians could only use
    illusions and divinations above 2nd level; why all of a sudden should they
    get the power to also use summonings and charms? P. 48 of the Book of
    Magecraft is explicit: "these spellcasters specialize in the magic of
    knowing and seeming."

    In 2nd edition BR it specified that bards cast spells as magicians, except
    they learn to use enchantment/charm spells through the use of ancient elven
    songs. But that`s ALL they`re supposed to be able to use. They are not
    supposed to be able to summon fiendish creatures from the nether realms,
    which is what a summoning spell is. To me, this is much more a "wizard"
    type of ability than something a dabbler (bard) or a seer/illusionist
    (magician) would be able to do.

    I hope I`ve outlined my thought process clearly enough. If the BRCS team
    already discussed this at length then I apologize for bringing it up again,
    but I feel very strongly about this. I hate seeing power inflation and this
    is precisely it.

    How I would address it -

    1. Bards - Nerf the spell list. Take out all healing spells and summoning
    spells, making it resemble the 2e BR bard spell list. Arcane Illusions and
    Divinations only as normal spells, plus Enchantment/Charm spells as songs,
    in a verbal component-only format. Fits well with the bardic song ability.

    2. Magicians - Keep the spell list identical to what magicians had in 2e.
    Magicians are supposed to be seers and common illusionists. They can grasp
    the fundamentals of true magic (all 1st and 2nd level arcane spells) but
    lack the ability to progress farther. They can only use arcane illusions
    and divinations of 3rd level and higher. Definitely lose the healing
    spells. I also think being able to summon creatures from the Outer planes
    and dominate a person`s mind goes far beyond the scope of a magicians power.

    In this regard I liked Travis Doom`s original magician conversion much
    better (in fact I thought it was quite good, except for the frequency of
    the special abilities), because it stayed true to the 2e spell list.

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  2. #2
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    >
    > Hit dice - d6. WTF??? A higher hit die implies a "beefier"
    > character. Magicians are bookworms just like wizards; why are
    > they tougher? Magicians did not have a d6 hit die in 2nd
    > edition. Why the power increase in 3e? I would change this
    > back to a d4.

    I don`t agree here. Magicians are more like Rogues, using their magical
    skills to earn for living, just like you mentioned in Class Skills
    comment.


    >
    > Skill points/level - I like magicians getting 4/level. They
    > study fewer types of spells, so have more time to practice skills.


    For same reasons, I agree here. They should not gain as many as thieves,
    but a little more that 4.

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  3. #3
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    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Milos Rasic" <mrasic@TEHNICOM.NET>
    To: <BIRTHRIGHT-L@ORACLE.WIZARDS.COM>
    Sent: Wednesday, February 05, 2003 7:06 PM
    Subject: Re: [BIRTHRIGHT] BRCS Chapter 1 - the Magician Class


    > >
    > > Hit dice - d6. WTF??? A higher hit die implies a "beefier"
    > > character. Magicians are bookworms just like wizards; why are
    > > they tougher? Magicians did not have a d6 hit die in 2nd
    > > edition. Why the power increase in 3e? I would change this
    > > back to a d4.
    > > >

    this


    > > Skill points/level - I like magicians getting 4/level. They
    > > study fewer types of spells, so have more time to practice skills.
    >


    and this are related--they study a lot, but also can`t study magic or as
    complex magic, this gives them more time to run and play outdoors er...ehm,
    learn combat techniques, defense traits--they aren`t necessarily
    tougher--just better trained--D&D"s paradigm of HP not being strictly a
    measure of physical health.

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  4. #4
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    At 07:37 PM 2/5/2003 -0600, you wrote:
    >----- Original Message -----
    >From: "Milos Rasic" <mrasic@TEHNICOM.NET>
    >To: <BIRTHRIGHT-L@ORACLE.WIZARDS.COM>
    >Sent: Wednesday, February 05, 2003 7:06 PM
    >Subject: Re: [BIRTHRIGHT] BRCS Chapter 1 - the Magician Class
    >
    >
    >> >
    >> > Hit dice - d6. WTF??? A higher hit die implies a "beefier"
    >> > character. Magicians are bookworms just like wizards; why are
    >> > they tougher? Magicians did not have a d6 hit die in 2nd
    >> > edition. Why the power increase in 3e? I would change this
    >> > back to a d4.
    >> > >
    >
    >this
    >
    >
    >> > Skill points/level - I like magicians getting 4/level. They
    >> > study fewer types of spells, so have more time to practice skills.
    >>
    >
    >
    >and this are related--they study a lot, but also can`t study magic or as
    >complex magic, this gives them more time to run and play outdoors er...ehm,
    >learn combat techniques, defense traits--they aren`t necessarily
    >tougher--just better trained--D&D"s paradigm of HP not being strictly a
    >measure of physical health.

    That`s a good point, and I know my suggestions look contradictory. HOWEVER,
    in 2e BR Magicians had the same HP as wizards (suggesting a similar lack of
    physical activity) but had more TRAINING in non-fighter, non-wizard areas,
    reflected in their wider weapon selection and rogue profs.

    I guess what I am getting at is yes, they do have more time on their hands,
    but no, they don`t use that time to exercise. They instead use it to learn
    roguish stuff without actually being a rogue.

    A good precedent for this is the Arcane Trickster (mage/thief) PrC, which
    gets d4 hp.

    I just don`t see the need to increase the hit die from a d4 to a d6 - I
    would keep it with Travis Doom`s original Magician conversion (which for
    the most part is very good, IMO).

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  5. #5
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    > I guess what I am getting at is yes, they do have more time on their
    hands,
    > but no, they don`t use that time to exercise. They instead use it to learn
    > roguish stuff without actually being a rogue.
    >

    Well, consider this from the logic of pure physicality most thief stuff is
    arduous....and likely physical.



    > A good precedent for this is the Arcane Trickster (mage/thief) PrC, which
    > gets d4 hp.
    >
    > I just don`t see the need to increase the hit die from a d4 to a d6 - I
    > would keep it with Travis Doom`s original Magician conversion (which for
    > the most part is very good, IMO).
    >


    I don`t use 3E or D20 currently as the only incarnation I`ve found tolerable
    is Mutants and Masterminds. So it`s kinda moot to me...

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  6. #6
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    At 09:13 PM 2/5/2003 -0600, you wrote:
    >> I guess what I am getting at is yes, they do have more time on their
    >hands,
    >> but no, they don`t use that time to exercise. They instead use it to learn
    >> roguish stuff without actually being a rogue.
    >>
    >
    >Well, consider this from the logic of pure physicality most thief stuff is
    >arduous....and likely physical.

    Yeah, but we`re not giving magicians jump, balance and tumble as class
    skills are we?

    We`re giving them Use Magic Device, several Charisma skills, and I would
    suggest Pick Pockets.

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  7. #7
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    There was a way for a halfling to gain Magician Levels in the original boxed
    set; but it was sort of a cheese method: Become a priest of Ruornil and you
    gain casting ability as a magician of half your priest level (I think that
    is what it was). So I think halflings should be able to take levels in
    Magician to try and stay true to the original setting somewhat; but ONLY if
    they are first clerics of Ruornil.

    Tony


    ----Original Message Follows----
    From: Lord Shade <lordshade@SOFTHOME.NET>

    I like most of what the BR team has done with the classes section but I
    have some issues with the Magician class. I`ll outline these in detail
    below.

    Flavor text - most of this I am happy with, except the part concerning
    races. Nowhere in 2e BR did dwarves become magicians. I think the BRCS doc
    should reflect consistency with the concept of the Magician being a nerfed
    Mage, and discourage Dwarven Magicians just like the doc discourages Dwarven
    true mages. Both are arcane magic which is something Dwarves don`t do in
    Birthright. I am kind of ambivalent towards halfling magicians - but at
    least I think the doc should say that they`re quite rare, because there is
    no mention of a halfling magician in the original BR products. P.48 of the
    Book of Magecraft states that only Humans can become magicians.


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  8. #8
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    I really only have a problem with dwarves being magicians, because of their
    "antimagic" nature evidenced by save vs spell bonuses. In 2e halflings were
    considered to be "antimagic" as well because they used a similar mechanic.

    In 3e halflings are actually totally unlike the halflings in 2e (2e
    halflings are a complete copy of Tolkien hobbits) and furthermore they lost
    the antimagic aspect.

    I for one much prefer Tolkien`s hobbits to WOTC`s new interpretation of
    them, so they`ll always be chubby, LG pastoral types in my games, even
    though their stats might change.

    At 11:55 PM 2/5/2003 -0500, you wrote:
    >There was a way for a halfling to gain Magician Levels in the original boxed
    >set; but it was sort of a cheese method: Become a priest of Ruornil and you
    >gain casting ability as a magician of half your priest level (I think that
    >is what it was). So I think halflings should be able to take levels in
    >Magician to try and stay true to the original setting somewhat; but ONLY if
    >they are first clerics of Ruornil.
    >
    >Tony
    >
    >
    >----Original Message Follows----
    >From: Lord Shade <lordshade@SOFTHOME.NET>
    >
    >I like most of what the BR team has done with the classes section but I
    >have some issues with the Magician class. I`ll outline these in detail
    >below.
    >
    >Flavor text - most of this I am happy with, except the part concerning
    >races. Nowhere in 2e BR did dwarves become magicians. I think the BRCS doc
    >should reflect consistency with the concept of the Magician being a nerfed
    >Mage, and discourage Dwarven Magicians just like the doc discourages Dwarven
    >true mages. Both are arcane magic which is something Dwarves don`t do in
    >Birthright. I am kind of ambivalent towards halfling magicians - but at
    >least I think the doc should say that they`re quite rare, because there is
    >no mention of a halfling magician in the original BR products. P.48 of the
    >Book of Magecraft states that only Humans can become magicians.
    >
    >
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  9. #9
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    The basic issue that has to be decided on with the magician is ifit is a PC
    class or an NPC class.

    Personally, I don`t favor using NPC classes at all, but I still think that
    the Magician should be an NPC class. And that means it should be
    significantly worse than a wizard. Preferably, it should also be less
    complex to use in play, with less special abilities.

    If this is the path chosen, there is no need for all the special abilities
    or the d6 hit points. I still think they should have a good skill list and
    skill points, but that is enough. After all, compared to adepts, they still
    rulethe playing field (especially at low levels).

    On the other hand, if they are made a PC-equivalent class, then the d6 hit
    die and all the class abilities are highly motivated. I feel this is the
    approach taken by the design team. It is not the path I would have taken for
    the magician, but it is a valid design descision.

    I also strongly agree that magicians should have the Pick Pocket skill for
    stage magic!

    /Carl


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  10. #10
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    On Wed, Feb 05, 2003 at 06:34:25PM -0600, Lord Shade wrote:
    > I like most of what the BR team has done with the classes section but I
    > have some issues with the Magician class. I`ll outline these in detail below.

    [snip]

    > How then, does that make sense, if the magician can perform magical
    > miracles of healing and the wizard can`t? Wizards are supposed to be able
    > to do everything a magician can do and more.
    >
    > Healing spells aside, the addition of charms and summoning spells to the
    > bard/magician spell list represents a significant expansion of power
    > relative to 2e BR bards and magicians. In 2e magicians could only use
    > illusions and divinations above 2nd level; why all of a sudden should they
    > get the power to also use summonings and charms? P. 48 of the Book of
    > Magecraft is explicit: "these spellcasters specialize in the magic of
    > knowing and seeming."

    The "path of lesser magic" presented an interesting power. 3e bards have access
    to healing magic. Thus a number of potential options were manifest:

    Option #1: Bards don`t use lesser magic... they using something else, or lesser
    magic plus some divine magic. Probably a bad option: All BR campaign
    material suggests that bards are very much practioners of "lesser magic".

    Option #2: BR Bards shouldn`t have access to healing magic. Probably a bad option:
    Anything that powers _down_ bards seems like a big mistake.

    Option #3: Reinterpret "lesser magic" to allow for the new bard spell list and
    provide an opportunity for the magician class to be an actually playable
    PC class.

    The team went with option #3 (although I am oversimplifying the
    discussion and the total number of options considerably). The PAGES of
    kit information on magicians gives strong indication that the magician
    was intended to be a full PC class. The previous "wizards/sorcerors can
    do everything thing better" conversions made this unlikely. The d20
    team came to accept this as being the "best" compromise in our
    opinion. Not only does it make a very campaign specific class more
    playable, it also GREATLY increases the believability of statements
    like "there are are a few score true mages in all of Cerilia" from the
    PCs POV if there aren`t two-four true mages in every realm.

    - Doom

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