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5E Am I too strict?


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To NaturalZero
One wizard voted no. The player that said that I was too strict. Two other wizards (one full fledge, the other a fighter3/wizard5) voted to keep things as they are.

Wizards are in no way nerfed as they get their spell anyways. They just have to pay for the inks. Which is a big deal as spells are expansive in my campaigns. Other players are paying a lot of money for potions and alchemy stuff. The wizards in my campaign are hampered in no way save a monetary aspect. And even that is not that much. As I said, if you read above, my question arose because a power gamer called me on that because it is his first time in 6 years that he is doing a wizard... It has more to say:" We want to keep in touch with 1ed where wizard did not have auto spells." and "5ed where spells are easy to come by. (more or less depending on the campaign.)"
I'm not sure how you can say wizards are in no way nerfed when it is costing them 100 gold per level minimum (level 2 they get two 1st level spells), money other players are using on potions and alchemy to increase their healing and other abilities. It seems like not having to spend that money on their class abilities would leave them free to do a lot of other things the other players are doing.


Save 120,000... from what? Where is this 120,000 coming from? Is there a rule I'm missing here?
From buying a 9th level spell scroll to copy the spell from, which would then cost them the time and ink to copy into their book and destroy the spell scroll.
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
From buying a 9th level spell scroll to copy the spell from, which would then cost them the time and ink to copy into their book and destroy the spell scroll.
Oh I see... yeah definitely don't agree with the OP that this should cost 15,000. When I think of a wizard I don't imagine that when he finds a scroll in a castle somewhere, he then needs to spend 15,000 gold on "magic inks" to copy it or whatever...

15,000 gold btw is a pretty insane amount of money, as one payment.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
That is exactly how I see it. Now you only have to copy it in your spell book.
If the cost of the ink is important then provided that they had the ink throughout the level why not just deduct that ink upon leveling and note that when they leveled up is when they completed adding those 2 spells to their spell book?
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Oh I see... yeah definitely don't agree with the OP that this should cost 15,000. When I think of a wizard I don't imagine that when he finds a scroll in a castle somewhere, he then needs to spend 15,000 gold on "magic inks" to copy it or whatever...

15,000 gold btw is a pretty insane amount of money, as one payment.
Depends how much money that campaign tends to give out in treasure, I suppose, and what else there is (by the sound of it, little or nothing) to spend it on.

And yes, if the loss of funds is such a nuisance an enterprising wizard could (one would hope!) fairly easily find a way to sell access to her own spells to other wizards or trainees, to make the money back.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
If the cost of the ink is important then provided that they had the ink throughout the level why not just deduct that ink upon leveling and note that when they leveled up is when they completed adding those 2 spells to their spell book?
If level-up is only done at the end (or start) of adventuring days this would make sense, but if you're levelling up right now because you just defeated Blurg the Frost Giant and five minutes later you're taking on Smurfy McSmurferton, Villain Extraordinaire there's probably not much spell-writing going on. :)
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
If level-up is only done at the end (or start) of adventuring days this would make sense, but if you're levelling up right now because you just defeated Blurg the Frost Giant and five minutes later you're taking on Smurfy McSmurferton, Villain Extraordinaire there's probably not much spell-writing going on. :)
I tend to play level up and end of session. I didn't think about doing it in the middle.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Oh I see... yeah definitely don't agree with the OP that this should cost 15,000. When I think of a wizard I don't imagine that when he finds a scroll in a castle somewhere, he then needs to spend 15,000 gold on "magic inks" to copy it or whatever...

15,000 gold btw is a pretty insane amount of money, as one payment.
Do you have any idea how many, "5e has nothing to spend money on!" threads this place has seen?
 

NaturalZero

Adventurer
Wizards are in no way nerfed as they get their spell anyways. They just have to pay for the inks. Which is a big deal as spells are expansive in my campaigns. Other players are paying a lot of money for potions and alchemy stuff. The wizards in my campaign are hampered in no way save a monetary aspect. And even that is not that much.
If the rules are changed so that one class has to pay money out of pocket for class features while other classes get free class features along with a lot of potions/materials to utilize with the money saved, that's precisely a nerf to the character as a holistic construct. The only way i see it as a non-issue is if you give out so much money that every character can afford their class features and have enough left over to buy as many extras as the other characters at the table. I can think of plenty of campaigns where i never would have touched wizard if we were playing by these rules because we didn't get a bunch of money between each level.

As I said, if you read above, my question arose because a power gamer called me on that because it is his first time in 6 years that he is doing a wizard... It has more to say:" We want to keep in touch with 1ed where wizard did not have auto spells." and "5ed where spells are easy to come by. (more or less depending on the campaign.)"
If I were him i'd just play something else and avoid a disagreement but I understand why he'd have an issue with a single class being the only one in the game that gets penalized. Of course, you have the power tell him to either follow your house rules or play another class, but I'm still not seeing the benefit of this rule. Everything about the game has changed from 1e, so what does this one thing really add to the game?

None. But I would like a bit more variety.
You're saying that you don't have an issue with players' choices and then in the next sentence you're saying that you have an issue with players' choices.

Who are you to say that I am putting my preferences above theirs? Didn't you read the posts where I say that It was voted by the players? I play a very democratic game. I see myself as a referee. We play by the common acknowledge preferences of both group of players. I was simply wondering if I was too strict in applying the rule. According to some, the rule does not go far enough. According to the votes of my players (2 wizards included beside the other one) it was ok.
I might be missing a post or something, but you made it sound like the vote you gave them was between:

A. Wizards pay
or
B. Everyone pays

Is that accurate?
 

clearstream

Be just and fear not...
For the first time, a player called me too strict for a ruling I made.
Here is the ruling:" Although the wizard learns too free spells to add to his spell book, I ruled that the wizard still have to pay for the materials (inks) to write it in his spell book." I also ruled that you can only add spells during downtime unless you want to risk a failure in case you are attacked during the transcription.

My reasons are two folds.
1) By Raw, the spells are free to add. But right in the side bar they say that whenever you find a new spell you have to copy in your spell book.

2) The spells do not appear out of nowhere. You have to have the special inks to put them in your spell book.

I gave the following example: A group is in the desert. They barely have enough food to get by. They have a weapon, an empty backpack (almost, the dried camel is stored in their backpack) and in case of caster, they have a spell focus. The group rise in level, they are now level 3! Yeah! The wizard adds two spells to his spell book but where did the ink came from? Did the spell appeared out of nowhere?

Nope, the new spells are a sudden inspiration. The wizard knows them, he gets them in his mind but now if he wants to change them, he needs to find ink to copy them in his spell book. Yes, they were free as in he did not buy them from an other wizard, he did not have to capture the spell book of an enemy, he did not have to make a quest to know it. But otherwise, he has to abide by the side bar.

I am a bit old school. Spells costs a lot in my campaign. First and second level spells cost 50 gold pieces per level just to copy. You still need to have the inks to copy them.
third through fifth level cost 250 gp per levels and 6th to 8th level are 1000 gold per level. A single spell of 9th level costs 15,000 gold and that is IF the other caster is friendly, very friendly to you (as in, (s)he owes you BIG TIME).

Is this too strict? Money to copy and acquire spell is a big money sink in my games and that is at all levels.
I have the feeling that he wants them totally free only to make more low level scrolls during downtime.
I think the rules probably entail that - somehow - the spells should be in the book, free. I envision them as a consequence of ongoing research, not something that happens spontaneously on dinging.

When applying an additional cost to a class, a question I would ask is about balance? Do you find wizards overpowered compared to other classes? I mean, many other classes gain spells and powers on levelling.

[EDIT: Skimming back through posts, it seems like your concern is that wizards are overpowered. If so, then one way to balance them is - as you do - to put a cost on their two free spells. For me, those spells are problematic because they can bring things into the game that really, the game might be better without: I would sooner exercise some kind of control over what can be accessed, than put a cost on them. Similar applies to Bard open spell picks (at certain levels).]
 

To the OP, if this discussion has made you regret your ruling, then know this:

Speaking both for myself and other DM's that I play with, sometimes we regret how we ruled on something and go back on it. We try to be consistent on the rules as much as possible, but a bad rule can get in the way of fun. So whatever agreements were made at the start of the campaign, we can always change our mind. Nothing stops you from having an honest talk with your players why you feel your ruling may have been in error. In the end the goal should be for everyone to have fun. You are not a monster for making a bad call, we all do on occasion. And I know your players will respect you for changing it, and explaining your reasoning.
 

clearstream

Be just and fear not...
To the OP, if this discussion has made you regret your ruling, then know this:

Speaking both for myself and other DM's that I play with, sometimes we regret how we ruled on something and go back on it. We try to be consistent on the rules as much as possible, but a bad rule can get in the way of fun. So whatever agreements were made at the start of the campaign, we can always change our mind. Nothing stops you from having an honest talk with your players why you feel your ruling may have been in error. In the end the goal should be for everyone to have fun. You are not a monster for making a bad call, we all do on occasion. And I know your players will respect you for changing it, and explaining your reasoning.
That's true. And for me it doesn't even apply just to bad calls. I regularly go through my list of current house rules and cull those that don't make enough difference on terms I value. Even perfectly good rules, that work fine: unless they really matter, they're not worth the cost of variance from canon.

That would be my core critique of applying this cost to wizards. Let's say I agree that they are overpowered (and TBH straight classes in wizard is still the bar for power in 5e) I still probably wouldn't apply the OP's rule. Not because I hate it, or feel it is a bad rule, but because it isn't strong enough. It doesn't do the work I would want it to do in the most effective way. And I speak as a DM who tried adding costs to the free spell picks wizards got in 3.5. It makes a small difference, but does not significantly ameliorate the more fundamental concerns with the class.
 

That's true. And for me it doesn't even apply just to bad calls. I regularly go through my list of current house rules and cull those that don't make enough difference on terms I value. Even perfectly good rules, that work fine: unless they really matter, they're not worth the cost of variance from canon.
I have had similar experiences with my own houserules. Sometimes they are a work in process, and need further refinement. I try to be transparent to my players, explaining the how and why of my houserule, and what my ultimate goal is.

When I came up with a way of doing mass naval combat in my 3e pirate campaign, I explained to my players how it was my goal to speed up the combat between hundreds of combatants onboard a few dozen ships, without making their characters or their ship upgrades irrelevant. I asked my players afterwards for critique, and they gave me plenty of feedback, which I'll use to further refine these rules the next time a big battle comes up.

Houserules can be a work of progress. But you should always listen to your players, and you should always ask yourself what the houserule is supposed to achieve that cannot be done with the core rules. In the case of my mass combat rules, houserules were absolutely needed and it got the job done. But there was also definitely room for improvement.
 
Last edited:

Coroc

Hero
I'm sorry, but the math on this doesn't work at all.

Assuming you can't buy magical gear, let us take a rogue, a cleric and a fighter.

They all start with the best weapons they can buy, shields, and armor. Assuming the fighter and cleric both buy Splint, then Full Plate and the rogue buys Studded Leather, they spend 3,445 gp. Arrows or javelins might add up to another 100 or so. But that doesn't matter.

The Wizard, just from the two level up spells per level, and never finding any spells they want to copy, is spending 10,700 gp over the course of the campaign. In practice, probably a little less, if they never take a spell outside their school they can cut this in half, but even then it is more than the entire rest of the party combined.

So, unless you are selling a few thousand gold worth of magical items to everyone else and not the wizard, then the wizard is paying more, and since magical items are something the wizard would want as well...
Nah, nah, no please don't. I wrote a WORKING ECONOMY. D&D 5e (and every other edition) had NONE as per RAW.

First it would be 200 Silver in my case for the starting.
I did a working economy for my greyhawk campaign (and every other) but I go nothing like RAW.

I try to give you some examples from my in game pricelist on how to eventually do that:
I my games it is 1g is 20s is 240c to reflect some reality.
So in my campaign a stiletto is 10s a two handed sword is 100s.
A buffed armor (AC12) is 20s a breastplate is 100s a full plate is 800s and needs to be bodyfitted
A mage scroll is (Spell-level)^2 x 100s, so 100s for a level 1 scroll and 8100s for a level 9 scroll.
Those scrolls can be used for oneshot or copying into spellbook, I do not bother about ink and stuff it is minor expense.

You see now the fighter comes with 200s, so e.g. he can buy a two handed sword and a breastplate, and the wizard gets 2 level 1 scrolls for that dosh.

Of course you got to steer the treasure from the beginning, normally every humanoid drops a few silver e.g 1d6 for an orc.

I hope that clarifies it a bit what I mean
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
That's true. And for me it doesn't even apply just to bad calls. I regularly go through my list of current house rules and cull those that don't make enough difference on terms I value. Even perfectly good rules, that work fine: unless they really matter, they're not worth the cost of variance from canon.
What does "cost of variance from canon" mean?

If you've a perfectly good houserule that works fine then keep it; and over time at your table it becomes the canon. Eventually, you won't need the PH any more, as your houserule binder (or online pages) has become your game's PH.

That would be my core critique of applying this cost to wizards. Let's say I agree that they are overpowered (and TBH straight classes in wizard is still the bar for power in 5e) I still probably wouldn't apply the OP's rule. Not because I hate it, or feel it is a bad rule, but because it isn't strong enough. It doesn't do the work I would want it to do in the most effective way. And I speak as a DM who tried adding costs to the free spell picks wizards got in 3.5. It makes a small difference, but does not significantly ameliorate the more fundamental concerns with the class.
Another option that has a chance of reducing the wizards' power a bit without automatically affecting their finances: make the spell (singular!) learned at level-up be rolled randomly from all wizard spells of the highest level the wizard can cast. No choice - you get what you get and that's that.

Want a specific spell that's not the one you got for free? Go out and find it, or trade for it, or buy it. And yes, buying it does affect finances but at least that effect comes by player/PC choice rather than as a built-in fact of levelling up.
 

clearstream

Be just and fear not...
What does "cost of variance from canon" mean?
It means that there are the official rules that players typically invest some amount of time in understanding. And then there are my house rules. Each time a house rule varies an official rule, there is a small cognitive burden for remembering that fact. Say I vary the cost of spells gained from levelling up, I not only have to learn and remember the house rule, but when I am playing wizard and read what to do when I level up I have to remember to disapply or vary the published rule.

These are observable costs that you see and experience when there is a widely possessed published source - the PHB - and a narrowly possessed set of changes. It's not black and white, for instance it can be "cheaper" cognitively to add a new feat, than to vary a published feat. An easy experiment to do to confirm this observation is compare player knowledge of the published general game rules plus specific game rules for their race, background, class and feats, with their knowledge of the published Sage Advice and Errata for those same rules.

While Sage Advice and Errata are intended to improve the game, at the table it's often more in a group's interests to just go with the PHB version, that every player at the table (typically) has ready access to.

If you've a perfectly good houserule that works fine then keep it; and over time at your table it becomes the canon. Eventually, you won't need the PH any more, as your houserule binder (or online pages) has become your game's PH.
I strongly favour sticking with house rules for a decent period - it's the only way to play test them robustly and tweak, clarify, balance or streamline them. What I am saying - concretely - is that there is a cost on each house rule introduced, and the value of that rule in play needs to justify that cost. I don't think you are denying that point, right? If one does have a constant player group, together for a long time, with unvaried house rules... then for sure that cost declines.

What's crucial in my mind, for game rules, is that they justify their presence. Their effect on play must be worth the cost of bothering to learn, remember, and apply them. Additionally, I know from (professional) experience that one drafts far more rules than one goes on with. Some rules should end up on the cutting room floor. Not all are equal in quality.
 

I think some people here are confusing paying for additional spells and paying for copying.
Bob the wizard is now third level. He has the chance to be in town.
He leveled in the field so now he wants to copy his new spells into his spellbook.
2 first level must be copied. It cost him 100 gold to get them down.
2 second level must be copied. Both are of his school so again 100 gold to get them down.

He wants to add a third spell second level spell. He goes to the local wizard that thought him magic and wants to add the blur spell to his spell book. Being a former apprentice, the wizard charge him 100 gold for the right of copying the spell. It costs an other 100 gold in inks.

And it goes both ways.
Gen the mighty NPC knows that Bob has the spell fire ball in his arsenal. When Bob gets in town after his adventure, Gen goes to Bob and asks him for the right of copying the spell fire ball. Gen the Mighty NPC pays 750 golds to Bob to have the right of copying the spell onto his spell book. When Kardok comes to Bob for the right of copying the spell, Bob isn't really happy to see Kardok but that fellow did let him copy a spell from his spell book. Kardok is a bit low on money but he has the ink for the Fire ball spell. He wants a little discount. He offers 500 gold and the spell Snilloc snowball swarm and the inks to copy it. Bob knows that he's losing about 50 gold but the rights to copy a spell from Kardok is a good opportunity...

Meanwhile, Tarkud the Fighter, pays for the repairs to his armor, shield and weapons (about 10% of their value). He buys new magical arrows and goes to the alchemist and apothecary to buy potions. He knows that Bob will make a few potions of fire resistance but he does not expect that Bob will have time to make a lot of them. Maybe two or three. So better check with the local alchemist. Healing potions are costly too but hey... At least they turned up a good profit on this adventure. The same goes with Albrecht the priest, and all the other characters. Everyone pays for something.
 

Bolares

Adventurer
I think some people here are confusing paying for additional spells and paying for copying.
Bob the wizard is now third level. He has the chance to be in town.
He leveled in the field so now he wants to copy his new spells into his spellbook.
2 first level must be copied. It cost him 100 gold to get them down.
2 second level must be copied. Both are of his school so again 100 gold to get them down.
Wait, why is he copying 4 spells?
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I think the rules probably entail that - somehow - the spells should be in the book, free. I envision them as a consequence of ongoing research, not something that happens spontaneously on dinging.
That's how I see it, too. Ongoing research, though, shouldn't get rid of the ink requirement for writing spells down. If all it takes a bit of time and study to get rid of the need for expensive inks, then that should also apply to spells found or purchased. RAW is glaringly inconsistent here.
 

Bolares

Adventurer
That's how I see it, too. Ongoing research, though, shouldn't get rid of the ink requirement for writing spells down. If all it takes a bit of time and study to get rid of the need for expensive inks, then that should also apply to spells found or purchased. RAW is glaringly inconsistent here.
It's either inconsistent or it's handwaved to avoid making a player have to pay for leveling up and getting their class powers...
 

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