Home » Ancient Posts » Reasons Magic-Users Did Not Dominate Play in Early Editions of D&D    
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Two things:

* The "15-minute work day" is not a function of edition. It is a function of the people at the table. Nowhere in the 3e or 3.5e books does it state, in any way, "The spellcaster should use all of his spells in a single encounter and then go home to rest." If a d20 party wish to forge onward after the mage stupidly blows all his spells, they will do so. If an earlier-edition party wish to stop and let the mage recover his spells after a single encounter, they will do so.

* Spellcasters can still only cast one spell per round in 3e/3.5e, no matter if they get a second attack when their BAB finally reaches +6 at 12th level.


I've had no luck convincing my friends to give older versions of D&D a fair shake. It may be an age thing. While I'm in my early 30s, most of them are mid-20-ish. My exposure to D&D began largely with the Mentzer Red Box — theirs began with 3.x Edition. It's like a Pandora's Box situation: Once WoTC (and to some extent 2nd Edition) opened up the Can o' Unrelenting Powercreep and combined it with this notion of "encounter design" that aims to insure character survival by shaving away the risk factor that makes encounters exciting in the first place — once that Box was fully opened, a major shift in paradigms occurred. I think this wizard thing is a symptom of that shift.


Don't forget a few other points:

Spell research and magic item research were so hard as to make it not worth it, and there were no "magic stores", so the spells a magic-user had were the spells they memorized. You couldn't boost a spell inventory through items. MU's didn't make themselves a utility knife, able to do other classes functions through spells. Hence there was a need for a thief, so a MU didn't waste a valuable slot on Knock.