| >>I'm wandering through stuff in my head, and I have to ask, does it matter? Clerics, WMs, bards, empaths (taking wounds, perceive healther, etc. =/= magic) and others that escape me, all have spell like abilities which are not true spells (Communes, pathways) in addition to having a crap ton of spells.|
If you look at the guilds that have been worked on more recently, you can see (I hope!) where we've tried to push a general separation of the abilities, but the line isn't nearly as well defined as it should be. That's because, as far as I know, there wasn't a line for the first 15 years or so of development.
Many of you are trying to define a glyph vs a spell using the existing system - so of course the answers are going to be fuzzy. They're an oddball collection of abilities that happen to use soul instead of mana.
Let's look at the two glyphs I specifically said seemed like spells to me.
Light - Produces light and +perception. +Perception is something that's clearly within the realm of augmentation magic (Clear Vision) and creating light is something we long ago decided wasn't worthy of a spell slot so it ended up as a rider on many abilities, mostly spells. It's not doing anything unique.
Mana - Raises the mana in the room. This is, again, not a unique mechanic these days and if you look at it's counter parts most of them are spells (Nexus, Raise Power, Fissure...)
I feel like guild abilities need to speak to the guild skill they are based around and do something that uniquely defines that guild. Stat boosting and skill boosting (The two most basic augmentation things) usually don't fit.
Let's look at the existing guild abilities:
Moon Mages - Astrology drives the interaction with prophecy, which generally manifests as the prediction system (We've discussed expansion, but none of it has ever panned out). Further, they have an entire spellbook (Teleologic Sorcery) dedicated to the manipulating this system in unique ways. In many ways (once Enchanting is finally divorced from Astrology) I think they have one of the best defined and developed guild skills - it stands on it's own, and lets the magic system enhance it.
Warrior Mages - Summoning has come a long way. In many ways it's the reverse of Astrology since it controls the entire elemental charge system, which shapes how the Warrior Mage interacts with their magic. Aethereal Pathways enhance how the Warrior Mage interacts with their TM spells in unique ways beyond a basic +TM augmentation (Though a few could be made more unique with 3.0 I suspect).
Necromancers - Much like Summoning, Thanatology doesn't do much on it's own but it's very clear when you're using a spell that involves Thanatology.
Empaths - Duh.
Barbarians - Expertise expands the combo system in unique ways for the barbarians.
Traders - As with Empaths, duh.
Clerics - I actually consider Theurgy a bad example of a guild skill, currently. While there's a unique system attached to it - communes - most of them are legacy abilities which don't have much of a thematic or mechanical connection. They're just "stuff" you can do. (Tamsine, Keritgen, Eluned II, and Meraud could all easily be spells and an argument could be made for Eluned and Hodierna).
Thieves - I'm not a huge fan of Backstabbing as it stands. I just feel like if we were starting from scratch they'd have something less combat oriented in it's place and backstabbing/ambushes would just be driven by stealth/weapon/debilitation skills.
Rangers - Scouting has some unique systems attached to it which is good, but it's very narrow (Which is saying something since it was the expanded version of Tracking) and leaves stuff like Beseeches with no skill to drive them.
Bards - Bardic Lore is a total placeholder of a skill. I'm not even going to pretend otherwise. Sorry Bards.
Look at what the magic using guilds have in common that I consider successful: They've carved out a space around their guild skill that is something other guilds can't do, and it works in tandem with their magic (With the relationship working either way). It should come as no surprise that the magic terts aren't on this list - they have a lot of legacy development of just "getting abilities" that weren't tied to magic and weren't tied to any skill. That's not modern development.
It's not an accident that both of these guilds struggle with an identity to their magic (Paladins because Clerics have stolen so much of their thunder and Rangers because they don't really have a confound currently beyond 'nature?').