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


"Diegetics", by L. Ron Gygax
I would have the game acknowledge that there are seven distinct flavors of "castable magic"; the 6 full casters, plus psion.

I would divide up the different effects of "castable magic" relatively equitably among these 7 types of magic, attempting for as little overlap as possible. (Think something like MTG, just with 7 colors instead of 5).

I would have the focus of wizard (arcane) magic be force effects, time and space effects, and metamagic effects (like dispel magic and counterspell).

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Step 1: Casting draws and AoO.

Step 2: Find a class identity that's worth something instead of 'has big spell list.

Step 3: Whittle down the spell list, have subclasses grant expanded spell list.

Step 4: Have actual subclasses instead of legacy school specializations with a focused theme for spell lists.

Step 5: Bring the other classes up, with a special focus on giving abilities once vetoed because 'that would step on the wizard's niche'.

Step 6: Establish things that aren't spells as being able to be presented as discrete abilities to facilitate 5.


I would narrow each wizard's focus.

There was a great Dragon magazine article back in the day wherein wizards built their spell lists based on the spells they'd already chosen. I think they were called Paths?

For example, in order to learn Scorching Ray, a wizard might first have to learn Burning Hands (or other 1st level fire spell). To learn Fireball, they first need to learn Scorching Ray or Burning Sphere.

I felt it was a bit punitive in 2e, given that there was a chance (determined by Intelligence) that you wouldn't be able to learn a given spell when gaining a level, and therefore would be unable to progress on your chosen path if you rolled poorly. But that's not an issue in 5e, so I think it could work well in narrowing the wizard's focus while also making each wizard more thematic.

Each wizard should be more narrow. No more generalist wizards who are better than the specialists at their schtick.

I picture wizards picking a main focus. This focus gives them access to spells of a very narrow theme. For example teleportation. This wizard can now mainly do teleportation magic. If you want to extend beyond this you can, but preparing spells outside of your focus lowers the peak potential of your focus type spells.

In short: You have a bunch of spell slots and they must all be from your focus, but you can optionally prepare spells not from your focus in "external" spell slots. When you do, the more spells you prepare, the more spell levels you lose from your focus until you remove the external spells. For the highest level of external spell you have prepared beyond a small set of "free" slots, you lose that number of spell levels from your focus.


Casting should provoke attacks of opportunity, possible exception for touch spells, though I do think it can work with just casting then rushing up with glowing fists to magically boost your punches.

Or possibly go full B/X:

"A character who cannot talk or use hand motions for any reason (such as being bound or gagged) cannot use a spell. Similarly, because the words and gestures must be repeated exactly, spells cannot be cast while performing any other action (such as walking or fighting)." So no casting when engaged in melee or when moving in a round, period.

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Problem is that there isnt equal number of spell of each school at every level. Some schools in general don't have that many spells. For school specific lists, whole section on spells needs to be redone and all of them should have decent spells.
Fix that too. Expand the spell list as needed, or at least make sure every school has an acceptable minimum.


The amount of irrational hate towards at-will cantrips always baffles me.

An action spent on dealing 10pts of damage as a wizard is an action lost.

Also dealing damage is almost always the least important thing you can do as a wizard.

ritual casting, this needs to go or be somewhat reduced in power. maybe prof bonus per day of rituals available.

Spells known/prepared, probably the way of the sorcerer, there is simply too much spells available.

spells known should be

1st level: 3
2nd: 4
3rd: 6
4th: 7
5th: 9
6th: 10
7th: 12
8th: 13
9th: 15
10th: 16
11-12th: 17
13-14th: 18
15-16th: 19
17-20th: 20

only one 6th-9th spell slot per day, as spell point variant.

spellcasting that is not Bonus action/Reaction should always trigger AoO and not be gated behind some feat, with Con save to lose spellcasting action.

Variant: if you cast leveled spell as an Action you can only cast a cantrip on your next turn.
this would limit leveled spell to one every other round.

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