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D&D 5E How would YOU nerf the wizard? +


NOTE: If you wouldn't nerf the wizard... CONGRATULATIONS. But this may not be the thread for you. Also, we don't need to relitigate the question of martial versus caster supremacy. let's just take it as a given here, please.

Going with the presumption that in 5E D&D (of whatever particular flavor, 2014 or 2024 or ToV or A5E or whatever) and you wanted to bring thew wizard (and other full casters) down to ensure more parity with primarily martial characters, how would you personally, in your campaigns that you would actually play, do that?

There are a lot of potential options, from curating spell lists to instituting casting rolls to reducing the availability of cantrips and/or spell slots. So, what would you do.

For my part, my favorite implementation of most D&D tropes is actually Earthdawn from FASA in the early 90s, so I would take a page from that game. Spellcasting would require a check, with failure to cast exposes the wizard to potentially catastrophic attention by horrible entities from beyond space and time. It is important to note that this isn't just a "fumble chart" although that is a potential component. the real problem is that the wizard starts to collect corruption and attract the attention of the entities. There are lots of "horrors" in D&D that can play the part, depending on the flavor of magic. Magic is allowed to remain powerful, but wizards have to be careful. The more you cast, the more you roll, and the more you roll, the more likely you are to fail. Note that this system also allows the wizard to set up a small number of "safe" spell in matrices, which adds an element of important decision making regarding which spells to safely prepare.

What would you do?

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I was first thinking to reduce spells down to no higher than 5th level spells. Then I was thinking that most of my campaigns do not go much higher than this and no 6th level spells would not be a big deal. Now I'm thinking to look at the number of spells per level and power of spells/cantrips.

An at-will unlimited cantrip should not deal as much damage as a 2-handed longsword. OR, they should not scale at level- maybe both. Cap them at 1d6 force or 1d6 plus something like slowed some for others. Maybe something like a feat or at 11th level where you cast a second one.

Cut the number of spells gained to that of a half caster. They still get a few but later and less of them. Fireball will no longer be an always spell if you only have one. This may lead to more resting, but that is another thread.


Division into focused caster classes based around different types of magic. Frankly, the "approach to doing magic" should be the subclass type choice, not "what kind of magic do you do?"

So you're a Fire Mage or a Dread Necromancer or an Illusionist and so on, and maybe that's something you're studying, something that's intrinsic to you, something you stole and so on.

I'm addition to cutting spell lists down, I'd shift more class budget to class features in general.


Fewer spell slots - a lot of the full caster issues come at mid-levels and are because of just how many spells they can sling out. With cantrips and the ability to cast ritual spells without a slot they don't need nearly as many slots as they get.

I think that and more curated spell lists would go a long way towards being the right kind of adjustment. For example, the base wizard should have a handful of spells per level that come on the "wizard" spell list, and their lists should get boosted based on what subclass they take.


A suffusion of yellow
The easiest is to make Magic a Skill, so spells are no longer auto-succces

Id have no damage cantrips (move them all to 1st level)

I’d also remove Wish entirely and a few more high level spells would be Ritual only & Ritual requires hp (blood), your own or a victims


Remove slots and have mana pool. Pool is (int mod+ con mod) x half wizard lv rounded up. Recovery is int mod + con mod per long rest. No short rest recovery mechanic.

Cantrips don't scale with level. If you want to scale them, you can. It cost one pernament point of mana pool per tier. So if you want spam that firebolt for 4d10, thats 3 pernament mana points less in your pool.

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