Discussion Topic: Spell Memorization vs. Mana pools

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Discussion Topic: Spell Memorization vs. Mana pools

PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2007 11:35 pm

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Been thinking about this ever since I played Final Fantasy II on the SNES and found they had done away with spell memorizationn of the NES Final Fantasy and D&D in favor of a magic (mana) point system.

Therefore, the question is, what is a better system in your opinion. Spell memorization, with the number and type based upon your level, or a system where magic costs a set amount of points to be taken from a larger pool.

It could be argued that for D&D's sake, the spell memorization system is better; seeing as how the introduction of psionics which uses a sytem roughly similar to a "mana" pool is scorned by some (Myself included but that is another discussion)....

In other game systems, notably warcraft and others, where you have constant action...the mana pool is used. But could not a mana pool be used in "standard" D&D? Or would this "break" magic-users?
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2007 5:24 am

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That can be answered with 3 words: Manna potion abuse.

Pretty much the memorised spells stops someone from just swigging a potion when they want to cast ye uber spell for the nth time. The use of it with psionics, i don't really mind as i think they have done it pretty well and its not really something u can just swig a potion for as its a "mental power" so to speak, thus exhausts the user eventualy. Where as a manna pool would just be abused imo.

PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2007 6:37 pm

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Mana is a quick-and-dirty casting system that works for the real-time environment you see in a lot of CRPGs, but in a PnP environment, it is too easily abused. Typically there's a reason you get X level 3 slots, Y level 2 slots, etc. It's not so that you can bomb four level 1 slots to toss an extra Fireball. In a real-time environment, where (depending on the pace) coming up with a detailed strategy with a spell selection that's fixed for the day can be difficult to the point of frustration, a mana system makes a fair bit more sense than spell memorization or even spontaneous casting, as with the Sorcerer class. In D&D, you have a turn-based system, which encourages you to slow down and think. On a turn-to-turn basis, this allows you to stop and think about how to most effectively cast (or act, in the general case) each turn. On the macro-scale, this system encourages you to think ahead to the situations in which you expect to find your character, so that you can have an overall strategy while building your prepared-spell list each game day.
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