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Level Up (A5E) "Fixing" the wizard to help it's poor imitators

If you look at the thread asking what classes need the most help you will see that a lot of people aren't happy with warlock & sorcerer. They all stem from the magic user's evolution through editions, but wizard unquestionably stays closest to the roots while the others branch into a more charismatic niche that have their own class specific toolbox like metamagic/flexible casting pact magic/invocations/eldritch blast & so on. Meanwhile all three share almost all of their spell lists, sure some have a smaller list than others & some spells are on one or two but not a third's list... but it's rare that you can tell what class Beth is playing entirely from the leveled spells she casts or how she casts them & that's a huge problem when one of the three's big thing as a class is pretty much that spell list alone.
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it screws with long/short rest balance. Nobody cares that a barbarian resets the relentless rage dc on a short rest or that second wind & channel divinity do too but action surge warding flare & tranquility all need a long rest instead by comparison because those classes (fighter/monk)have significant differences in addition to those abilities that make telling them apart at the table trivial within a few rounds just how they act in a fight. By fixing the wizard to embrace what it is rather than holding it back so it doesn't outshine the poor clones with abilities of their own those dabblers are able to embrace their abilities with added designspace rather than being hobbled by keeping one hand on their big brother class.


  • 1A: Get rid of costs to scribe spells. They served a purpose with the old wealth by level system & LFQW, but really they jut cause strife at the table. Scribing spells is the one thing really unique to wizards but they can't even use it unless they find a scroll or spellbook and they start taking way more than just an even split of gold.
  • 1B: Wizards treat much more of their spellbook as always castable akin to how ritual/domain/archetype spells are: Suddenly wizard is not overshadowed by this when sorcerer is effectively given a spellbook with every spell on their class list already scribed & the limitation that they only swap out 1 spell/long rest pretty much no different from how most wizards actually play when swapping spells.
  • 1C: give sorcerer that variant class feature letting them swap a spell/long rest or something else
  • 2: Get rid of concentration as it is: It's a seriously overused mechanic that makes many spells never worth casting & other spells problematic. Instead allow any caster to use an action & 1arcana(int) vrs caster's arcana(int)check to counterspell an active buff/debuff spell. Alternately allow 2arcana($relevant casting stat of the dispeller) vrs caster's arcana(choice of int/wis/cha) & give wizards automatic arcana expertise if the second.
  • 3: Rebuild the wizard spell list from the ground up. Seriously just throw it out entirely. Remove existing spells, change the level spells are gained at, etc. This should lean away from nukes or even raise/lower some of their levels gained & towards buffs,battlefield control, debuffs (especially save or suck & save or lose), & divination. Make a lot of these spells that a wizard can "concentrate cast" by simply having them in the spellbook over a few minutes & either cast them immediately on a party member or continue concentrating on it until ready to do the last verbal/somatic component & unleash it on a baddie
  • 4A: split by changing some wording. Warlocks now know pact spells & sorcerers know bloodline spells to arcane/divine spells of cleric/ranger/pally/wizard/artificer.
  • 4B: Sorcerers upcast nuke type bloodline spells. Not +cha, literally they use a level x spell slot & get a level x+Y slot effect.
  • 4C: What about warlocks you ask? well if warlocks had a cohesive class identity it could be easy to do something, but they are more like a big deck of random& often unrelated casterific abilities masquerading as a class so there is lots that could be done now that they aren't restricted by what their big brother & sister shine at so can fully embrace their choice of pact, invocations, or whatever with extra room as long as that embrace is not simply to copy what now makes the wizard & sorcerer distinct.
edit: Lets not pretend that charisma is not a massively better stat than int in 5e when doing all this stuff too
 
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aco175

Legend
I suppose that over the editions I never really liked sorcerers and warlocks. I just prefer Wizards for some reason. There is some sort of niche they fill, but they feel cheap in the magic realm. Not sure on fixes. People talk about warlocks being the best short-rest casters and sorcerers being able to cast metamagic instantly. This may be balanced with wizards having more breath and number of spells.
 

TheSword

Legend
No, no, no.

We have three classes that are all very different.
  • Bookish Intelligence caster
  • Force of personality Charisma sorcerer
  • Ritualistic Charisma Warlock

- The suggestion to remove concentration that has done more than anything else to prevent LFQW is madness.

- Warlocks are extremely popular. They don’t need re-writing.

- Rewriting the spell list is far far too much work for zero benefit.

Too many departures from 5e to make this stuff viable.
 

Phoebasss

Explorer
- Warlocks are extremely popular. They don’t need re-writing
Even if the base class is mostly fine, pact of the blade needs changes that make it even a remotely effective option compared to eldritch blast. Even a d8 eldritch blast would still be better than anything bladelock gives you.
 

No, no, no.

We have three classes that are all very different.
  • Bookish Intelligence caster
  • Force of personality Charisma sorcerer
  • Ritualistic Charisma Warlock

- The suggestion to remove concentration that has done more than anything else to prevent LFQW is madness.

- Warlocks are extremely popular. They don’t need re-writing.

- Rewriting the spell list is far far too much work for zero benefit.

Too many departures from 5e to make this stuff viable.
"It prevents a problem" doesn't change the fact that it's a half baked & massively overused implimentation that causes an equally significant problem for casters. As to your bullet points, mechanically there is nothing splitting those three as a caster from either your description or really watching them cast except charisma is a massively more useful stat than intelligence in 5e & both of those charisma based classes are loaded with powerful class specific abilities in addition to being just about as good at being a primary spellcaster as a wizard. That part of your post I bolded actually gives weight to why they need to stop being pretend wizards and embrace whatever the hell they are so wizard can go back to being a bookish intelligence caster instead of pretty much just like a sorcerer except bad in social situations & lacking a bunch of maningful class/archetype abilities.

As to warlocks being "popular", you'll get no disagreement there but just like sorcerer they are too good at pretending to be a wizard when a fight starts & changing that so they are their own thing is easy when you narrow the ven diagram overlap first

@Phoebasss that can't be done without first more clearly moving them into their own designspace & because the base class is desperately trying to be a wizard so all three can move on as their own thing
 


Phoebasss

Explorer
@Phoebasss that can't be done without first more clearly moving them into their own designspace & because the base class is desperately trying to be a wizard so all three can move on as their own thing
Oh I agree that the three casters here need to be more clearly delineated in base class as well. I was just responding to Sword in particular with a problem I think is impossible to ignore and at least means warlock deserves a close inspection in 5e. I think warlock is halfway there with invocations and its unique spell system, but it needs a more unique spell list and something additional once it starts to push into high levels. A lot of the level-locked invocations are just terrible, and don’t do anything well. See: the one that lets you cast jump with a spell slot...

Getting more on topic, removing concentration is an interesting idea, but I think maybe expanding it to multiple spells as a reward for concentration heavy classes or subclasses is more my style. Allowing concentration on two or even three spells at once is uniquely wizard, but I do think the other classes need the hard stop to keep them from concentrating on half a dozen things.
 

Oh I agree that the three casters here need to be more clearly delineated in base class as well. I was just responding to Sword in particular with a problem I think is impossible to ignore and at least means warlock deserves a close inspection in 5e. I think warlock is halfway there with invocations and its unique spell system, but it needs a more unique spell list and something additional once it starts to push into high levels. A lot of the level-locked invocations are just terrible, and don’t do anything well. See: the one that lets you cast jump with a spell slot...

Getting more on topic, removing concentration is an interesting idea, but I think maybe expanding it to multiple spells as a reward for concentration heavy classes or subclasses is more my style. Allowing concentration on two or even three spells at once is uniquely wizard, but I do think the other classes need the hard stop to keep them from concentrating on half a dozen things.
If concentration were to stay, a fully fleshed out version should look like Anarchy Online's NCU system where..lets call em magic items & spells for ease of discussion. A caster would cast a spell on someone & each spell consumed a certain amount of NCU space that varied from spell to spell. A really good spell might use a lot while a weaker one less. Players would have a magic item that held differently sized NCU modules & upgrade those as often as possible (sometimes magic items like a weapon/bit of armor/fancy hat/gloves/etc would include bonus NCU space) If a debuff was cast on you & you didn't have ncu space it could interfere with an existing buff like a Heal over time that would be broken into the base spell itself & a really small pulse one that might be more complex than needed. Other times a debuff would purge something beneficial from a player's NCU to make room for itself Here is a link to a "buffing guide" written for playing/using the buffing classes that should give a good outline for how buffs fit in the picture with it & here is one about the NCU itself

edit: A wizard never felt slighted when a half caster later picked up a buff spell they had been doing the lifting on & freed them up to cast other stuff because it tended to happen as the full caster was getting new awesome spells for the party to depend on. I'm not worried about a nuker like sorcerer, partial caster like ranger/pally, or whatever the heck warlocks are start casting a wizard/cleric spell a few levels later& free up those spell slots for the primary caster & doing so meant that half caster was suddenly able to get included in some buff there were not enough slots for before. Concentration as is just works out to a bad fix that crushes an entire section of the game to solve a perceived "problem" rather than putting safeguards around something to stop just the problematic part
 
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ThatGuySteve

Explorer
The subclass is where wizards really pick up their identity, but some of these need to be strengthened. The wizard class is a fairly bland chassis for subclass features to ride on.

I agree with removing the cost to scribe spells. I can't think of any other class feature that requires gold to use.

Concentration is fine.

Add more ritual spells for wizards.

Give an alternative feature to Arcane Recovery to create (temporary) spell scrolls.
 




ThatGuySteve

Explorer
Agreed. It's a bit outdated. I imagined the gold cost was for the extra material components necessary to practice and learn the spell. But with the advent of arcane foci, that now seems irrelevant.
The cost for material components explanation doesn't even hold up as spells with costly components don't have an additional cost to scribe. Its just a hold over from earlier editions where gold was more important for buying magic items.
 

Removing concentration is about power, nothing else. Casters do not need more power. Simple.
I partially disagree; it's also about action management. There are many spells that require concentration unnecessarily, and makes them not worth using at all. I'm sure the designers didn't intend to make certain spells effectively worthless. A5e can make another pass and determine what spells are actually worth concentrating on, and either remove it from the others or discard the spell. Those kinds of changes were what I thought this was all about.
 

glass

(he, him)
I partially disagree; it's also about action management. There are many spells that require concentration unnecessarily, and makes them not worth using at all. I'm sure the designers didn't intend to make certain spells effectively worthless. A5e can make another pass and determine what spells are actually worth concentrating on, and either remove it from the others or discard the spell. Those kinds of changes were what I thought this was all about.
On the principle that "things should be the same, or they should be different", I would rather they leave out any spells deemed to be worthless rather than try to tweak them. By all means include new spells with similar niches, but nothing too close.

_
glass.
 

On the principle that "things should be the same, or they should be different", I would rather they leave out any spells deemed to be worthless rather than try to tweak them. By all means include new spells with similar niches, but nothing too close.

_
glass.
I respect that principle, but I don't think it's necessary, especially with the stand-alone game A5e is going to be designed to be. You're not going to be referencing two versions of the same spell. You're going to be using the new book.
 

glass

(he, him)
I respect that principle, but I don't think it's necessary, especially with the stand-alone game A5e is going to be designed to be. You're not going to be referencing two versions of the same spell. You're going to be using the new book.
It is intended to be used standalone or alongside the PHB. And either way, to be used with 5e adventures, bestiaries, etc.

_
glass.
 

It is intended to be used standalone or alongside the PHB. And either way, to be used with 5e adventures, bestiaries, etc.

_
glass.
That's true, but any references in a 5e product to spells can be assumed to refer to the version in A5e if you're using it. I guess I still don't the confusion.
 

TheSword

Legend
I partially disagree; it's also about action management. There are many spells that require concentration unnecessarily, and makes them not worth using at all. I'm sure the designers didn't intend to make certain spells effectively worthless. A5e can make another pass and determine what spells are actually worth concentrating on, and either remove it from the others or discard the spell. Those kinds of changes were what I thought this was all about.
Can you give specifics?

Not everyone subscribed to Treantmonks ultra utilitarian approach to selecting wizards spells. Sometimes theme and circumstance make something else appealing.
 


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