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


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Horwath

Legend
Hypnotic Pattern is great 'til someone pokes the Wizard with a pointy stick and breaks the effect on everyone who failed. Same with most crowd control effects. Because the more people in the effect the higher the odds someone doesn't get caught or subsequently gets out of it.

any wizard worth anything will try to prevent the chance of even rolling a Conc save, being far away, behind cover, behind difficult terrain, using Shield if needed,
Meanwhile a Fireball always deals at least half damage which is more than a fighter can throw out with a single swing of a greatsword, much less hitting 12 people within a 20ft radius burst. (Granted, Fire resistance happens, but there's ways -around- resistance akin to wielding a magic greatsword at this point)
5th level fighter will deal on average 15 damage per round and Fireball will deal on average 22 damage on a single target.
dealing 7 damage more is NOT a good use of your highest spell slot.

now, there is an off chance of situations happening like you said that you manage to hit 12 people with it, but that should be an exception not the rule, because Fireball is just mystified Frag grenade, simple to mitigate, do not march in tight formations and no one will use it on you.

in last 2 campaigns to 10th level, we had ONE! fight where we managed to hit 9 targets with fireball. only ONE.
And my Aberrant mind sorcerer only had fireball from magic item(1/day), not even on spells known list, because 1/day is probably more than you will have chance to use it effectively(5+ targets)

You can go on and on about how a fighter can "Keep swinging all day" but with a caster present the fighter doesn't -have- to.
if your whole day is 2 rounds of fighting, then yes, fireball is better by 14 damage than greatsword. On a target that really counts(the Boss)
Spellcasting is also a two-way street. There's a reason "Geek the Mage" is a powerful and well known phrase among TTRPG Players. Players, like DMs, hate having their characters shut down by powerful magic. And while you could go through and make another "Softening" pass of all the dangerous spells in the game, you could instead work on an actual problem: The fact that a wizard enemy can not only shut down part of the party, but simultaneously slap every member of the party for a fistful of dice that blows a martial's combat round's worth of damage dealing out of the water.
yes, wizard will deal more damage than fighter if wizards focuses only on damage dealing spells, and there is less rounds of combat in a day than wizard has decent level spell slots. And wizard should be doing more damage then because it's d6 vs d10 and no armor vs heavy armor.
That said, Silvery Barbs is definitely broken and never should've made it through submission, much less edits.
As I said, Silvery barbs is just a messy hot fix for RNG problem of the game, same as Lucky feat, Portent feature, Shield, War magic, Bardic inspiration or whatever kind of d20 manipulations are there in the game.
 

nevin

Hero
IME a wizard can spend 3 games with DM or wizards own bad rolls minimizing output or completely making the wizard useless and no one notices that. but then after 3 full sessions of bad dices rolls one good wall spell or teleport to a big enemy and disintegrate and suddenly the wizard that was only useful for of 4 full sessions is overpowered. Usually I see the partial casters being the ones that melt down or screw themselves for a game session or 2 trying to emulate what the wizard pulled off. Everyone on forums needs to quit pretending that the wizards hijinx always work, or at least admit if they do that's a DM problem not a wizard problem.
 

nevin

Hero
yes, wizard will deal more damage than fighter if wizards focuses only on damage dealing spells, and there is less rounds of combat in a day than wizard has decent level spell slots. And wizard should be doing more damage then because it's d6 vs d10 and no armor vs heavy armor.

As I said, Silvery barbs is just a messy hot fix for RNG problem of the game, same as Lucky feat, Portent feature, Shield, War magic, Bardic inspiration or whatever kind of d20 manipulations are there in the game.
if your DM gives you lot's of rests and the wizard runs with effectively unlimited magic yes. If your DM plays a bit more old school and the rests are more spread out fighters will eventually overtake the wizard because the fighter has no limit on damage output. Silvery Barbs was supposed to fix the wizard running out of spells. With rests now they rarely do and so you have a wizard with a reliable damage cantrip that shouldn't be memorizing big damage spells because preventing damage from multiple enemies is far better than killing a few of them. Unless your DM throws lot's of low level minions who clump up at your party then fireball is king.
 

Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
any wizard worth anything will try to prevent the chance of even rolling a Conc save, being far away, behind cover, behind difficult terrain, using Shield if needed,
Yup. Because every fight starts with the Wizard attacking from stealth somewhere in the next county over, far away from the rest of the party. And enemies would -never- ambush the wizard while they're off on their lonesome.

No, sincerely, I recognize what you're saying, Horwath, but what's good for the goose is good for the gander.
5th level fighter will deal on average 15 damage per round and Fireball will deal on average 22 damage on a single target.
dealing 7 damage more is NOT a good use of your highest spell slot.
And if you hit 2 targets you've done 14 more damage than the fighter would in 2 rounds. And if you hit 3 targets you've done 21 more damage than a fighter would in 3 rounds. You don't have to hit 12 for it to be -very- worthwhile.

And if you're aiming at a single target you'd probably wind up using a single target spell for better efficiency, of course. Also: It isn't always your highest level spell. And even if it -is-, how many targets do you need to hit before it drastically shortens the duration of combat?
now, there is an off chance of situations happening like you said that you manage to hit 12 people with it, but that should be an exception not the rule, because Fireball is just mystified Frag grenade, simple to mitigate, do not march in tight formations and no one will use it on you.
Again, 2 or 3 is enough to make it "Worthwhile". Lord knows I'll use it on my players if I can hit two of 'em. Though, in fairness, my spell slots are far more disposable than a player Wizard's.
in last 2 campaigns to 10th level, we had ONE! fight where we managed to hit 9 targets with fireball. only ONE.
And my Aberrant mind sorcerer only had fireball from magic item(1/day), not even on spells known list, because 1/day is probably more than you will have chance to use it effectively(5+ targets)
I tend to build out the encounter day in a way that specifically MAKES fireball useful once a player chooses it. By including a pile of weaker foes for the Wizard/Sorcerer/Whomstever to bomb off the map with glee.

Guess that's a difference in DM Style, in the end. I try to make sure there are situations which allow players to shine, specifically.
if your whole day is 2 rounds of fighting, then yes, fireball is better by 14 damage than greatsword. On a target that really counts(the Boss)
Ehhh... Again, I think that's a difference in how fights are constructed. If you think the only target that "Really Counts" is the boss, that's a choice. Not a -bad- choice. But not the one I choose.
yes, wizard will deal more damage than fighter if wizards focuses only on damage dealing spells, and there is less rounds of combat in a day than wizard has decent level spell slots. And wizard should be doing more damage then because it's d6 vs d10 and no armor vs heavy armor.
The Wizard will do more damage with 1-2 damaging area of effect spells if there's a bunch of people on the battlefield than the fighter will deal in 10 rounds of combat. If the Wizard hits 4 people with a fireball, by your own math, the wizard will have done as much damage as the fighter would if the fighter spent 6 rounds running around the battlefield swinging twice with their greatsword every turn and -hitting- every time. On Average.

A 5th level Wizard can do that twice, and still have as many second and first level spell slots as they did at 4th level "Left Over" for the rest of the day. If they hit 4 targets, both times, they've done as much damage as the fighter running around for 12 entire rounds swinging on enemies.

And since a 5th level Wizard is probably still mostly fighting low-level enemies that damage is going to wipe out a squad of goblins or bandits or guards or whatever, and make the Wizard look and feel really cool as they dispense with a bunch of the Boss's minions before engaging the boss. And let's be real, the Boss was probably in the area, too.

You don't have to focus only on damage dealing spells, either. Mixing in some crowd control or buff/debuff makes it even more impressive and effective.
As I said, Silvery barbs is just a messy hot fix for RNG problem of the game, same as Lucky feat, Portent feature, Shield, War magic, Bardic inspiration or whatever kind of d20 manipulations are there in the game.
Silvery Barbs is definitely a messy 'fix'... But like most of the others it doesn't fix anything. Just applies an opportunity and resource cost to bend the rules.
 

ECMO3

Hero
And if you hit 2 targets you've done 14 more damage than the fighter would in 2 rounds. And if you hit 3 targets you've done 21 more damage than a fighter would in 3 rounds. You don't have to hit 12 for it to be -very- worthwhile.

If you hit 3, which is not common unless you are an evoker and while the damage is the same the math doesn't account for the tactical situation. Dealing 30 damage to 1 enemy is generally going to be better than dealing 44 total to two enemies as long as they have more than 30hps each, because of its effect on action economy.

It is also why if you can get 3+ in Fireball you are better using something like Hypnotic Pattern and doing no damage, because of the effect it has on action enconomy.


And if you're aiming at a single target you'd probably wind up using a single target spell for better efficiency, of course. Also: It isn't always your highest level spell. And even if it -is-, how many targets do you need to hit before it drastically shortens the duration of combat?

Compared to other spells a whole lot typically I think.

Even hitting 5 it is probably still behind using a summons like Summon Fey or Summon Shadowspawn unless they are really low hps that are going to be killed from it.

tend to build out the encounter day in a way that specifically MAKES fireball useful once a player chooses it. By including a pile of weaker foes for the Wizard/Sorcerer/Whomstever to bomb off the map with glee.

It is really good for this, but I almost never see this except on an Evoker who can frag his allies (and never specifically put it in).
 

TwoSix

"Diegetics", by L. Ron Gygax
Arguing about the relative efficacy of AoE damage versus control spells seems weird when the issue of the wizard is that they're superlative at both.

Take one of those capabilities away from the wizard, and give it to another class, and then the relative balance of those options would become a more interesting one.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
To stay within the rules, I would start by not letting them find any scroll to learn additional spells ever, limit magic items that cast spells in treasure, and not allowing any potentially useful option from supplementary books.

Going into rules changes territory, I might instead require a proven source (teacher, books, scrolls) to learn each new spell at level up. Depending on the degree of nerfing desired, I may or may not let them found such sources.
 

Remathilis

Legend
Arguing about the relative efficacy of AoE damage versus control spells seems weird when the issue of the wizard is that they're superlative at both.

Take one of those capabilities away from the wizard, and give it to another class, and then the relative balance of those options would become a more interesting one.

Arguably, the wizard should be the controller and the sorcerer the blaster, but since wizard players get teh sadz if you do anything to curtail their power, wizards end up doing both roles better.
 

TwoSix

"Diegetics", by L. Ron Gygax
Arguably, the wizard should be the controller and the sorcerer the blaster, but since wizard players get teh sadz if you do anything to curtail their power, wizards end up doing both roles better.
I agree with your whole point, except I would change the first word to “inarguably”. :)
 

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