D&D 5E How common are "petty" spell casters?

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Which is the way it should be. Any attempt to glean a "default" setting from the pages of the core rulebooks is a waste of precious internet time. Which is not what the OP has done, but a sidetrack that often enters these types of discussions.
The DMG literally tells us what the core assumptions(defaults) are that the game world(generic setting) is based on. Once you start altering those core assumptions for your setting OR if you use a premade setting, you leave the realm of defaults in whole or in part. The DMG even uses the word default several times for various sections.
 

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Micah Sweet

Legend
Tell that to the PHB authors who put my favorite races in Fantasy Ghetto while enshrining the apparent "fact" that humans, elves, dwarves, and halflings are mandatory.
You don't think WotC should focus the spotlight on the races people are most familiar with? Seems like classic basic WotC to me.
 

kigmatzomat

Adventurer
Your registered nurses are the product of the modern world. They didn't exist 200 years ago, let alone a thousand.
That was a simile, a metaphor, nay, an analogy.

And while "advanced practice registered nurse" did not exist thousands of years ago, midwife did, which is a form of APRN. Physicians, surgeons, bloodletters, herbalists, apothecaries, trepaners and all forms of medical practioners, both useful and quackery existed.

As for our fantasy world, casters who require less training and study than wizard exist by RAW.
  • We have the racial caster, who has a cantrip or a 1st level spell from bloodlines, like the aasimar, tiefling and some elves. They should count on the list as part of the spellcasting population but its not something you can choose for yourself.
  • There are people who have become Fey or Shadow Touched, getting a 1st and 2nd level spell. ("Survive a date with a nymph" is risky but it just might work to get you some mojo without years of college. Or you might get drowned, who knows.)
  • There is a feat specific to a failed wizard; Magic Initiate, giving them 2 cantrips & 1st level spell. There are multiple flavors of Initiate for the tone deaf bard, irreverent cleric, or half-blood sorceror or a not-warlock who managed to keep some power without signing a pact.
  • Ritual Caster is another feat that provides spellcasting. It isn't as punchy as a cantrip but being able to cast a 1st level ritual spell like Unseen Servant 5-6 times an hour can prove very impactful, essentially letting one person run a store or a farm without ever breaking a sweat.
  • Eldritch Adept Invocations can include casting spells (mage armor, speak with animals, disguise self, etc) with no warlock levels or abilities.
  • Spellsniper feat teaches someone an attack cantrip, making them a spellcaster.
  • There are the lesser casters in Tasha, the Sidekick Spellcaster. "The sidekick might be a hedge wizard, a priest, a soothsayer, a magical performer, or a person with magic in their veins." They are distinctly less powerful than a full caster and yet are spellcasters.
Ultimately, any 4th level characters of any class, race or attributes could have some spellcasting without being a PC class. If you use Tasha's variant humans rules, any 1st level human farmer can, by RAW, be a spellcaster.

They could be a failed apprentice (Magic Initiate, Ritual Caster), have a "no lie, there I was face to face with..." story (fey/shadow touched), been trained as an assassin or mystic warrior (Spell Sniper), made a sacrifice at a forgotten temple and received a boon (Eldritch Adept) or hundreds of other scenarios.

Most of these are PHB feats so even if you discount TCoE, the partial caster is still a base game RAW feature.
 
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Stormonu

Legend
You have a 5E source for any of this? Where is the rule that says studding magic takes a long time? Do you see a rule for spellcaster starting ages that says "you must be old"? And where do you find the cost for spellcaster training?
Not 5E, but 1E, where a lot of old traditions hail from. Starting age for a 1st level wizard was 26-40 years old, average 33 (page 12, "CHARACTER AGING, DISEASE, AND DEATH"). Raistlin was the first "young" wizard I remember in D&D art.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Not 5E, but 1E, where a lot of old traditions hail from. Starting age for a 1st level wizard was 26-40 years old, average 33 (page 12, "CHARACTER AGING, DISEASE, AND DEATH"). Raistlin was the first "young" wizard I remember in D&D art.
It's in the 5e wizard description text.
 

You don't think WotC should focus the spotlight on the races people are most familiar with? Seems like classic basic WotC to me.
I don't think it should tell people that every fantasy universe has halflings (Azeroth and Tamriel don't) or dwarves (Tamriel doesn't, technically Tyria and Athas don't either), when that's blatantly not true. Even elves are not quite as universal as one might think. Nor do I think it should tell people that other races are "true exotics" or axiomatically rare/weird/unusual.

Because two of the most prominent fantasy universes today prominently lack at least one of those supposedly always-there races, and prominently feature "true exotics" as commonplace options (Tamriel has widely-known cat-people and lizard-people; Azeroth has large populations of civilized orcs, minotaurs, trolls, goblins, werewolves, panda-people, etc. etc.) It's disingenuous at best to present these things as "true exotics" when everyone and their mother knows that WoW offers playable orcs.
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
I don't think it should tell people that every fantasy universe has halflings (Azeroth and Tamriel don't) or dwarves (Tamriel doesn't, technically Tyria and Athas don't either), when that's blatantly not true. Even elves are not quite as universal as one might think. Nor do I think it should tell people that other races are "true exotics" or axiomatically rare/weird/unusual.

Because two of the most prominent fantasy universes today prominently lack at least one of those supposedly always-there races, and prominently feature "true exotics" as commonplace options (Tamriel has widely-known cat-people and lizard-people; Azeroth has large populations of civilized orcs, minotaurs, trolls, goblins, werewolves, panda-people, etc. etc.) It's disingenuous at best to present these things as "true exotics" when everyone and their mother knows that WoW offers playable orcs.
They don't need to use those terms, sure, and I'm totally with you on orcs, but WotC is not going to replace dwarves and elves with dragonborn and tieflings. Also, everything in the PH seems to exist in every D&D world now regardless of setting, so it looks like we're back to the 4e view of things. Maybe that'll make you happy.
 

King Babar

God Learner
I guess I don't quite understand your chart, then. By those numbers, AFAICT, that means that your setting has 2 people who can cast 5th level spells, 20 that can cast 4th (2 in the well-developed bit) and NO ONE who can cast spells of 6th level or higher. Is that really what you intend?
Yes, more or less. And it would be, on average, two NPCs who can cast 6th level spells for this specific region in my setting. This number may be more, may be less. The chart is a guideline, not a straitjacket. Important NPCs, such as demigods, heroes, and other major figures don't need to obey this rule.

Again, my campaigns have never gone beyond 8th level. My last campaign ended at 7th level. The most dangerous spellcasters that the party fought could cast 5th level spells. I think of my setting as "medium magic", so I've set a soft ceiling for the kind of spells out there in the world. Spells above 7th level are in basically in a quantum state of maybe existing, maybe not existing. I can decide all that later.
 

They don't need to use those terms, sure, and I'm totally with you on orcs, but WotC is not going to replace dwarves and elves with dragonborn and tieflings.
Where did I say they should? I simply don't think they should disparage some options and enshrine others. Instead, they should tell players (regular and DM alike) that choosing what races appear in a given setting is one of the (many) dials for tone and theme and give examples for how that can work out.

Also, everything in the PH seems to exist in every D&D world now regardless of setting, so it looks like we're back to the 4e view of things. Maybe that'll make you happy.
I guess? Athas never gained anything new, and while there are laudable folks willing to consider a more open-minded attitude on things like Greyhawk (a fantasy kitchen sink if there ever was one), it's not like this us even remotely some kind of draconian (heh), enforced thing.

What would make me happy is what I said above. Don't disparage some races and enshrine others. Actually SHOW D&D being used as a toolbox, rather than making sweeping and inaccurate statements about what fantasy world there are.

I don't care that much about what races DMs allow players to play in games I don't personally participate in. I do think many DMs would enjoy gaming even more than they do if they were more open-minded, but honestly, you do you mango. What gets my goat is official materials enforcing (or trying to enforce) ideological orthodoxy in a game supposedly only limited by human imagination.
 

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