D&D 5E Are Wizards really all that?


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Why is it that archers in hard to reach places, or difficult/dangerous terrain, or invisible opponents, is considered good fun, not "DM against Melee", but anything intended to challenge the casters is "DM against Wizards". There really are so many options for challenging wizards, but people in this thread seem to think that using them is adversarial.

Again, no wonder wizards seem OP to some people.
I'd guess that it seems that way because the countermeasures DMs have to come up with need to be more and more exotic from a player perspective.

They aren't the kinds of things a player is likely to intuit, and so, when they come up, even if the solution is reasonable, it feels like a gotcha.

And because the wizard has so many solutions available and because many of these solutions have some scaling with level, the more of them that are countered by measures a player is unlikely to foresee, the more adversarial it feels.

Whereas the tools you use to challenge martials don't really change that much. The archers in a hard to reach place mostly retain their level of challenge throughout a martial's career. You might just need to add a few more of them or make the arrows slightly pointier.

This is broadly not the case with caster challenges.
 
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DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
I'd love to see wizards drop down to picking 1 spell per level. Not because of PHENOMINAL COSMIC wizard power! Rather, because in my experience 90% of the spells chosen by various wizards are the same. Dropping 1 spell per would make outside spells, which they can't control, more important and increase the variety of spells that wizards have.
LOL if we ever finish our Mod I think you would like a lot of it.

Full-casters get 1 spell per caster level as a known spell (wizards don't prepare spells--no class does), plus a number of spells equal to their spellcasting ability modifier. So, at 1st level you would typically have 4 spells known, and 25 at level 20. We go back-and-forth about allowing spell swapping when you gain a level, however.

Sure, unless it is counterspelled. How many monsters in the MM can cast dispel magic? I would guess less than 5%.
NPC casters run-a-muck in my world then. ;)

Seriously though, Tiny Hut has never been an issue in my games. While the PCs are getting their rest, the enemies are gathering reinforcements, barricading the party in, etc. They've learned it is rarely a viable solution to getting in a long rest in a place of (real) danger.

That isn't to say it doesn't get used a lot in travel, to mitigate nasty nighttime encounters some. :)
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
LOL if we ever finish our Mod I think you would like a lot of it.

Full-casters get 1 spell per caster level as a known spell (wizards don't prepare spells--no class does), plus a number of spells equal to their spellcasting ability modifier. So, at 1st level you would typically have 4 spells known, and 25 at level 20. We go back-and-forth about allowing spell swapping when you gain a level, however.
How does this stop the players from picking 90% of the same spells as wizards? It lowers the number it looks like, but they are still selecting them.

I don't mind them knowing more spells, I just want to see some freaking variety to the spells learned. Hell, I'd even be down for requiring the one spell to be from their chosen specialty, making them even more reliant on scrolls, found spellbooks, making friends with NPC wizards, etc.
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
I'd guess that it seems that way because the countermeasures DMs have to come up with need to be more and more exotic from a player perspective.

They aren't the kinds of things a player is likely to intuit, and so, when they come up, even if the solution is reasonable, it feels like a gotcha.

And because the wizard has so many solutions available and because many of these solutions have some scaling with level, the more of them that are countered by measures a player is unlikely to foresee, the more adversarial it feels.

Whereas the tools you use to challenge martials don't really change that much. The archers in a hard to reach place mostly retain their level of challenge throughout a martial's career. You might just need to add a few more of them or make the arrows slightly pointier.

This is broadly not the case with caster challenges.

Yeah, that makes sense.

It's another variant of "Well, real castles have moats, but they don't have anti-teleportation spells, so if the DM uses the latter it must be to punish the Wizard..."
 

Yeah, that makes sense.

It's another variant of "Well, real castles have moats, but they don't have anti-teleportation spells, so if the DM uses the latter it must be to punish the Wizard..."
To be fair..it kinda is. You don't have it for the rogue, fighter, barb, most monks or most paladins that the moat is designed for.

Possibly fair, but certainly specific "punishment".

I don't have a problem with it but it is an extra layer of DM overhead to incorporate.
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
How does this stop the players from picking 90% of the same spells as wizards? It lowers the number it looks like, but they are still selecting them.

I don't mind them knowing more spells, I just want to see some freaking variety to the spells learned. Hell, I'd even be down for requiring the one spell to be from their chosen specialty, making them even more reliant on scrolls, found spellbooks, making friends with NPC wizards, etc.
Sorry, I didn't get that from your post. It seemed more like you didn't like them knowing so many spells (which is what creates the versatility).

But, to answer this question, we've revamped the spell lists so wizards have 200 spells instead of nearly 300 (over 300 now probably).

However, this decreases the sameyness issue (only 1/3 spells overlap between classes instead of 2/3), but nothing addresses wizards all picking the "best" spells except (IME):

1. Checks to learn spells (which we have...)
2. Gaining spells at random (which I don't think many people would like)

For our checks to learn spells (not just wizards, all casters!) if you fail you cannot try again until your spellcasting modifier increases (either via ability modifier or proficiency bonus). The DC is 10 + the spells level made using your spellcasting modifier.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
It's another variant of "Well, real castles have moats, but they don't have anti-teleportation spells, so if the DM uses the latter it must be to punish the Wizard..."
Real castles had corner stones with religious rituals done on them to protect the inhabitants... there is real world precedence for protecting even everyday homes. The hearth sprites are appeased to keep them happy and in return they might provide the home some protection but tbh in a highly magical world like D&D often implies knock the tops off.
 

ECMO3

Hero
The familiar is never detrimental. Sometimes it is better to not use it and instead either park it on your shoulder or dismiss it. But that doesn't make having the option detrimental unless there's an actual trade-off.

I would agree with this.

I rarely use my familiar to scout or use it for combat (and when I do use it for combat they are usually killed). But I get a familiar a lot and keep them in their pocket plane most of the time.

I am sure they hate it in there but got to keep them safe!

With an Arcane Trickster I usually get FF at level 3, get a familiar and then swap the spell out for something else at level 4 (usually shield or absorb elements). When I do that I am very protective of the familiar, because if the familiar dies after you have gotten rid of the spell you are screwed.

My favorite familiars for wizards and rogues are bats and ravens. Bats for the blindsight which can come in very useful in darkness or against invisible creatures and ravens for the mimicry ability, which I use in social situations a lot.

The best use of a familiar I've had is to get you out of being swallowed. The purple worm swallows you, then on your turn use absorb elements and summon the familiar as far away from you (and the worm) as possible. On the familiar's turn have him move further away and hide, but make sure he can see an area within in 30 feet of you. Then your turn absorb elements again, use your action to look through the familiar's eyes and then bonus misty step out of there. It takes 2 turns, but will save you from certain death. If your familiar is already out and somewhere nearby you can do it in one turn.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Why is it that archers in hard to reach places, or difficult/dangerous terrain, or invisible opponents, is considered good fun, not "DM against Melee", but anything intended to challenge the casters is "DM against Wizards". There really are so many options for challenging wizards, but people in this thread seem to think that using them is adversarial.

Again, no wonder wizards seem OP to some people.
If you're an ordinary humanoid in a fantasy world, you can sit back and think of ways to stop things a mundane person can do. To stop things a magic user can do, however, requires knowledge of what a spellcaster is capable of.

Given the depth of spell lists, knowing that with any degree of certainty will be insanely difficult without extensive education and experience. Even if you've seen a Leomund's Indispensable Bivouac in action, do you know the exact limitations? Do you know if it has a floor, or how indestructible it is? Do you know how long it lasts, and other minute details? Only if you can cast it yourself, since you would need more than a brief encounter to know what you were dealing with. And let's not forget, most people who encounter adventurers die.

So for your campaign to have any kind of scenarios designed to deal with casters requires casters to be commonplace enough that their capabilities are fully understood. If your campaign is higher magic and spellcasters are everywhere, this makes perfect sense.

But often, in these sorts of discussions, you'll encounter people who consider their games to be lower to moderate magic. They don't want fantastic elements, preferring a more gritty "realistic" fantasy world without flying castles or teleport gates between cities, or golem city guards (things that a preponderance of casters would make possible).

In such a world, then, a lot of these "countermeasures" stand out because it's harder to imagine who has the detailed knowledge to conceive of or construct such things. The thing you're dealing with is communication- in our world, if someone has a cool idea, it can spread like wildfire.

In a world where travel distances matter, and you need riders on horseback or carrier pigeons to send messages, if one guy has a cool idea, it may be that only a few people ever hear about it. So even if a canny person creates countermeasures to one spell, it's very likely that it's going to be a one-off at best.

And even if a spellcaster figures out anti-spellcaster tech, you think he's going to just run around telling people how to beat his magic? Not very likely!
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Real castles had corner stones with religious rituals done on them to protect the inhabitants... there is real world precedence for protecting even everyday homes. The hearth sprites are appeased to keep them happy and in return they might provide the home some protection but tbh in a highly magical world like D&D often implies knock the tops off.
Since D&D has no real system for "hedge magic", such superstitions and beliefs would have no power unless they were spells.

That having been said, I'd love for D&D to explore the idea of magic anyone can invoke, including making pacts with spirits without becoming a Warlock or something.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Since D&D has no real system for "hedge magic", such superstitions and beliefs would have no power unless they were spells.
Then they are... in game world household spirits who help protect houses just by being bribed and priest rituals that protect castles blocking teleport since that was the example. Not sure why you assume these are not?
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Then they are... household spirits who help protect houses and priest rituals that protect castles blocking teleport since that was the example. Not sure why you assume these are not?
What I mean is, where are these rituals in the rules? What are the stat blocks for these spirits? How does one communicate with them? Why aren't they everywhere?

Where's the crunch, man?
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
What I mean is, where are these rituals in the rules?
Are there even castle building rules? Crunch is for players not game world simulation what do you think this is 3e? If my players are building a castle they will find the high level priest has it tadah.
What are the stat blocks for these spirits? How does one communicate with them? Why aren't they everywhere?
Do your players attack a lot of peasants homes inquiring minds want to know..

5e is pretty sparse on material
 

pemerton

Legend
Why is it that archers in hard to reach places, or difficult/dangerous terrain, or invisible opponents, is considered good fun, not "DM against Melee", but anything intended to challenge the casters is "DM against Wizards". There really are so many options for challenging wizards, but people in this thread seem to think that using them is adversarial.

Again, no wonder wizards seem OP to some people.
In addition to the replies you've had, I have this thought:

A combat between a PC melee fighter and an invisible opponent, or an archer who is hard to reach, still has the player of the fighter engaging the combat rules - taking turns, declaring actions, etc. The exception would be a melee fighter against a flying archer or similar sort of foe - which I think would often be seen as adversarial!

When the GM has a NPC or trap or whatever cancel the wizard's spell, on the other hand, the wizard player doesn't get to keep playing the game. Their move has been negated.

This is a result of the different methods that 5e D&D (following in the tradition of classic D&D and 3E) uses to resolve combat and spell casting.
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
If you're an ordinary humanoid in a fantasy world, you can sit back and think of ways to stop things a mundane person can do. To stop things a magic user can do, however, requires knowledge of what a spellcaster is capable of.

Given the depth of spell lists, knowing that with any degree of certainty will be insanely difficult without extensive education and experience. Even if you've seen a Leomund's Indispensable Bivouac in action, do you know the exact limitations? Do you know if it has a floor, or how indestructible it is? Do you know how long it lasts, and other minute details? Only if you can cast it yourself, since you would need more than a brief encounter to know what you were dealing with. And let's not forget, most people who encounter adventurers die.

So for your campaign to have any kind of scenarios designed to deal with casters requires casters to be commonplace enough that their capabilities are fully understood. If your campaign is higher magic and spellcasters are everywhere, this makes perfect sense.

But often, in these sorts of discussions, you'll encounter people who consider their games to be lower to moderate magic. They don't want fantastic elements, preferring a more gritty "realistic" fantasy world without flying castles or teleport gates between cities, or golem city guards (things that a preponderance of casters would make possible).

In such a world, then, a lot of these "countermeasures" stand out because it's harder to imagine who has the detailed knowledge to conceive of or construct such things. The thing you're dealing with is communication- in our world, if someone has a cool idea, it can spread like wildfire.

In a world where travel distances matter, and you need riders on horseback or carrier pigeons to send messages, if one guy has a cool idea, it may be that only a few people ever hear about it. So even if a canny person creates countermeasures to one spell, it's very likely that it's going to be a one-off at best.

And even if a spellcaster figures out anti-spellcaster tech, you think he's going to just run around telling people how to beat his magic? Not very likely!
Farmers cottages, no. Castles, yes.

Or not, and let Wizards be all that. It’s a simple equation.
 

Then they are... in game world household spirits who help protect houses just by being bribed and priest rituals that protect castles blocking teleport since that was the example. Not sure why you assume these are not?
I think in practice, that doesn’t work in many cases for various reasons.

1. Yes, at high levels you are more likely to interact with king’s castles and the like that have the resources to defend their castles against magic. But you never stop interacting with people who don’t have those resources. So, maybe the old hermit in the woods has information you need to save the king. He’s not a high-level druid, just obnoxious. There are a large number of magic ways to help get this information, even if you don’t necessarily have the skills to back them up.

2. For a large number of monsters, those types of defenses aren’t really on brand. A purple worm isn’t going to entreat nature spirits or make deals with clerics. Many chromatic dragons are notoriously paranoid and don’t play well with the sort of spellcasters that could prevent teleporting.

3. Magic is so broad that it is difficult to defend against all types of magic. Sure, you prevent teleportation, but what about etherealness? What about Disguise Self? What about Charm person?
 


Zubatcarteira

Now you're infected by the Musical Doodle
I think just knowledge on spells isn't hard to justify, Lizard McWizard wrote the best selling book "Fantastic Spells and How to Counter Them" 100 years ago, and it became mandatory reading for all children in the nation's schools.

I do think the average person should know more about magic than most settings go with, if someone can control your mind or kill you with a word, you'd want to know how that works out exactly.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Are there even castle building rules? Crunch is for players not game world simulation what do you think this is 3e? If my players are building a castle they will find the high level priest has it tadah.

Do your players attack a lot of peasants homes inquiring minds want to know..

5e is pretty sparse on material
If you're going to add a rules element to the game, there has to be rules for it. Maybe 5e is lacking ways to build castles, but if I'm a character in a world and I encounter something commonly used, I'd want to know how it works, and to see if I can use it to my benefit. Or find ways to exploit or circumvent it.

Just saying "oh there's this thing that prevents magic and it doesn't need rules" isn't how I like to play.
 

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