I’ve never been a fan of Vancian magic. I think it was the fact that Gygax expected us to accept the idea of ‘forgetting’ spells once cast without laying any of the ground work to explain the concepts of Jack Vance’s magic system from Dying Earth. To my young mind, the idea of Gandalf or Merlin ‘forgetting’ a spell was just ludicrous!
I always preferred skill based magic systems, or spell point systems. Now, I understand some of the power-balancing that the system as written allowed for. In some ways, it kept the mages from dominating the game as they would come to do in 3.X/PF. But as a player, I freaking hate preparing spells. Hates it!
So, I really like the trade off they created with the Sorcerer in 3.x, as well as the flavor. Who wouldn’t want to play a character who literally has magic in their blood? PF even did them one better with the Sorcerer bloodlines allowing the characters to really feel like your magic ancestry made you different.
Now, ACKS straddles an interesting line between Vancian and Sorcery, which is the ability to learn a small, hard to change list, but being able to freely cast from it. I heartily approve this message! But what if you want something different? Well, it’s easy enough to re-skin a wizard as a sorcerer and simply say that his ‘master’ who teaches him spells between adventurers is actually him developing the powers on his own. And instead of finding books to steal spells from, perhaps you steal the essences of certain monsters and they contain spells.
But what if you want the mechanics to feel different? Ah, well, now, that’s a bit more tricky. However, ACKS also has some possible help for that, if you are willing to bend the rules a bit and don’t mind changing the way spell management is handled.
I’ll show you what I mean next week…