Dungeons and Dragons: I Got That Magic In Me
So, it’s been a little while since I’ve written much about Dungeons and Dragons. But I did run a game not that long ago, and I got to thinking about all of the different types of magic in D&D and while I’ve talked about the various casting classes before, I haven’t talked as much about how the magic is different for them. So we’re going to do a bit of a dive into the different types of casters you can play in Dungeons and Dragons.
Since Dungeons and Dragons is a fantasy setting, you have magic in the same, I don’t think that’s a surprise to anyone. How much magic you have to vary a lot. Some worlds in D&D have a ton of magic with lots of people being able to use small spells and little things, like curing a small wound are going to be magically done or lighting a fire, magic might be faster. There are going to be other fantasy worlds where magic is extremely rare. If you have magic, you have way more value to the nations because of what you can do. In either of them, the PC’s (Player characters) who have magic are going to end up being more powerful than most other casters, because, otherwise, those characters would be saving the world, and you’d still be a farmer.
But within magic, there are a number of different ways that you can get magic or use magic. Which, mechanically speaking, are represented by the different classes you can be. A Cleric and Paladin get their magic from their gods whereas a Druid gets it through nature, a Sorcerer just has it, and a Wizard needs to learn it. That doesn’t even touch on the bard who signs theirs (but just kind of have it) and the Warlock who has made a deal for it. If you know you want to be a magic user, picking your class can help determine what sort of background you have because of how you got the magic.
Bard – This magical mischief maker generally gets their spells from their ability to weave word or song in such a way to alter the world around them either for attack or entertainment. A bard is generally going to be someone who has been trained, but not to improve their magic, but their performance ability. I think that the bard is a class that can be generally used for most backstories.
Cleric – The first of our magical classes that gets their magic from the divine. The god that they are worshiping is giving them the powers and has chosen them as special. In particular, they are giving them powers to help people, and while combat might not be their strong point, but healing and aiding other characters is what that character is going to be the best at. With a cleric, your backstory can be anything but you might want to focus more on a religious background and have it something you’ve been a part of for a while, not something that you just picked up.
Druid – The hippy of the magical classes, the druid is all about nature and their attunement to nature. In some ways, I would say that a Druid is a bit like the Cleric in that they get their magic from the divine, but for the Druid their divine is their connection to nature. The Druid is going to be the caster who has the most connections to nature and natural changes in the world. The outlander or hermit backgrounds actually make a lot of sense for a background for the Druid, because you need that strong connection with nature that makes most sense to be gotten on your own. The trick can be connecting back into the group.
Paladin – Our second divine caster, the Paladin is what is know as a half-caster. What that means is that they have a more limited spell selection and a smaller number of spell slots with which to cast spells. What the Paladin does get is some of the healing abilities of the Cleric but much better punching power with their ability to handle weapons. They also get the ability to channel their divine magic into even more damage, at the cost of casting spells, but I still feel like it’s a spell like affect and is part of their magic. For a Paladin, your background can be much more open, because while they do have that divine magic from a god, their devotion to their religion is less strictly guided like a Cleric’s feels, though, they do need to maintain that collection.
Ranger – Another and last half caster, the Ranger pulls a little bit like the Paladin does from the Cleric, but for the Ranger it’s from the Druid. They get some of the connections to nature that the Druid has, but also then gets more focus in their magic for hunting down their enemies. Unlike the Paladin who has extra abilities they can do with their magic, the Ranger is more focused on just using their spells as spells. Their background is generally going to be fairly open, being a scout in the military or being a hermit all make sense, and even some of the more scholarly ones can make sense.
Sorcerer – The natural of the magic world, the bard might just use music, but the Sorcerer just gets magic. And they get amazing control over their magic. The Sorcerer is an interesting class in that they get things called meta-magics and meta-magic points that they can use to improve their spells. This might mean that they can cast them farther or do so silently so it can’t be countered. This allows a player to specialize their character so that their Sorcerer feels different from others. The Sorcerer definitely can come from any sort of background since their magic can be something that just newly manifested. It’s the magic class that you do if you don’t want to be beholden to anyone or anything.
Warlock – If the Sorcerer isn’t beholden to anyone or anything, the Warlock 100% is. They’ve made a pact with some powerful being, fey, elder god, or demon that is giving them their powers. And the Warlocks magic works differently than everyone else’s. They aren’t a half caster, but they aren’t really a full caster. They get invocations that can really make their cantrips much better so they don’t need as many high level spells, which is good, because they don’t get many spell slots. But when they cast a spell it’s always at the highest spot possible. I don’t know that they are that much harder to play than other casters, but how they work makes less sense. They, because they can have just gotten their magic, do have it in common with the Sorcerer that most any background works.
Wizard – Final one and definitely the most iconic. The Wizard has learned magic. You could say that Bard might be considered a bit of that if you consider them learning their craft of storytelling and performance, but for a Wizard, there are Wizard schools and you study and you need a spellbook to be able to prepare spells for the day. But, as a Wizard, you have access to more spells than any other class. Their specializations also makes it easier for them to learn more spells in certain areas, and while other classes can be capped on how spells they know, a Wizard can always add in more spells if they have the time and money to transcribe them into their spell book. A wizard, the Sage background makes the most sense because they’ve spent at least some of their life in school, but that might not be the defining feature for them.
That’s a lot just looking at the classes and how they use magic, I’m going to spend some time coming up here going into more topics on magic such as spell slots and spells known or high or low magic worlds that I touched on that the top of the article. Some of them will be more player focused and others more dungeon master focused. Is there a certain type of caster that you gravitate to?
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